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Lighting the way for structural resistance to fire

Assistant professor Spencer Quiel is not a firefighter, but part of his job serves to keep fires from causing severe damage to our buildings and bridges.

In developing engineering tools and techniques to enhance structural resistance to fire, Quiel is bringing a new perspective to the field, and to Lehigh research that supports our global infrastructure.

Quiel, who earned his Ph.D. at Princeton in 2009 in structural engineering, spent four years in Washington D.C as an engineering consultant for protective design of structures. He became increasingly interested in merging the state-of-the-art in structural resistance to blast, impact, fire, etc. with the current state-of-practice. Quiel continued his pursuit of that goal in 2013, joining Lehigh University civil and environmental engineering department as a member of its structural engineering research program.

"Considering the impact of fire loading on structures is something that is relatively new," he explained. "Structural engineers typically don't include fire load as part of their scope when designing a building or a bridge."

"As a structural engineer," he said, "it's exciting to be at Lehigh, with access to ATLSS, one of the biggest testing facilities in the world. You can think up and test approaches to problems that just wouldn't be possible at other universities."

Read the full story at the Lehigh University civil and environmental engineering website.

-Brenda Martinez '15 is a writer with the Dean’s Office of the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science.

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