UNSW Sydney recently hosted the successful 5th edition of the Asia-Oceania Symposium for Fire Safety Materials Science and Engineering (AOFSM’5). The event, co-organised with the Asia-Oceania Association for Fire Safety Materials Science and Engineering and the University of Southern Queensland, provided a platform for fostering knowledge exchange and collaboration in the field of fire safety.

The conference was supported by several institutions, including UNSW Sydney and the University of Southern Queensland, as well as research centers and hubs such as the UNSW ARC Fire Training Centre and the UNSW ARC Fire Research Hub for Fire Resilience Infrastructure, Assets, and Safety Advancements (FRIASA). Governmental backing came from the NSW Office of Chief Scientist & Engineer, while publisher Emergency Management Science and Technology, and industry body Duke Technology also provided sponsorship.

The program featured keynote speeches, technical sessions, panel discussions, and poster presentations. Over 24 keynote speakers and 8 plenary speakers shared their expertise, insights, and latest advancements in the field, including experts Prof. Jaime Grunlan from the US, Prof. Serge Bourbigot from France, Prof. Yuji Nakamura from Japan, Prof. Baljinder Kandola from UK, Prof. Yuzhong Wang from China and Prof Liming Dai and Prof. Guan Heng Yeoh from UNSW.

The symposium also provided networking opportunities, enabling participants to connect with peers, researchers, and industry professionals. It attracted 113 participants, including 81 international and 10 interstate attendees, as well as 22 student participants. 

AOFSM’5 focused on the fields of chemistry, physics, mechanics, thermophysics, information science, computer science, and material science, as these pertain to investigating fire dynamics and basic principles of fire safety technologies. A wide range of topics were addressed, including Innovative Flame Retardant Polymers and Composites, Flame Retardant Nanocomposites, Bio-inspired Flame Retardant Materials, Improving Flame Retardancy of Fibres, Textiles, Foams and Films, Eco-friendly Flame Retardants for Soot and Toxicity Suppressions

A notable feature was the incorporation of new simulation and Australia-related topics. The conference covered wildland fire (bushfire) safety and energy storage systems, emphasising the need to protect natural environments and ensure the safety of energy storage technologies. Multi-scale computational models for fire and evacuation were also integrated into the program, highlighting the importance of advanced modelling techniques in understanding fire dynamics. Furthermore, it explored fundamental aspects of fire dynamics, fire testing, and fire safety science, providing a solid foundation for ongoing research in the field.

“AOFSM'5 served as a transformative platform for disseminating new knowledge and techniques in energy conversion technologies. NSW-based delegates had the opportunity to incorporate this newly gained information into their practices for the benefit of their local communities,” said event organiser Associate Professor Shaun Chan from the UNSW School of Mechanical and Manufacturing.

The feedback received from participants was majorly positive, with many praising the event's location and organization, highlighting the convenience and accessibility of the facilities and wonderful conference banquet.

“Many attendees commented on the valuable knowledge exchange that took place during the conference. They appreciated the opportunity to learn from experts and researchers from around the world, gaining insights into the latest advancements and future directions in fire safety materials science and engineering,” said conference committee chair Professor Guan Yeoh from the UNSW School of Mechanical and Manufacturing.