Dr Maryam Ghodrat


Fields of Research (FoR)

Computational Heat Transfer, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Fire Management, Combustion and Fuel Engineering, Natural Hazards

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I am a Senior Lecturer and researcher at School of Engineering and Technology, UNSW Canberra. 

My research is interdisciplinary and broadly centered on development of robust, scalable, and adaptive solution techniques for assessing vulnerability and resilience of critical infrastructure to natural and man-made disasters. My team's research is contributing new theories, models and computational tools for accurate engineering design and analysis...view more

I am a Senior Lecturer and researcher at School of Engineering and Technology, UNSW Canberra. 

My research is interdisciplinary and broadly centered on development of robust, scalable, and adaptive solution techniques for assessing vulnerability and resilience of critical infrastructure to natural and man-made disasters. My team's research is contributing new theories, models and computational tools for accurate engineering design and analysis of complex flows including heat transfer, combustion and related air pollution ,environmental fluid mechanics and decarbonization of the energy sector.

My research also involves the development of accurate physical and CFD modelling to advance new energy technologies for renewable fuels such as hydrogen and biomass.

As for experimental research, I established “Pyrometric Lab” at UNSW with several dedicated flame behaviour testing equipment to unravel the fundamental behaviour of materials exposed to direct and indirect flame and radiative heat transfer. I have also designed and built a modular subsonic combustion wind tunnel for convective heat flow measurement and visualisation at UNSW.  

I received School of Engineering and Technology Publication award for outstanding annual research  in 2022. In 2023 I have been recognized as one of the top 2% of highly cited research scientists in the world by Stanford University and Elsevier.

My Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of New South  Wale, UNSW Sydney  (2014)
  • Master of Engineering ,University of New South Wale, UNSW Sydney (2010)

My Research Activities


  1. Adaptation and transformation of critical infrastructure to natural hazards and manmade disasters 
  2. Convective–radiative heat flux characteristics of surface flame under unsteady forced flow
  3.  CFD modeling and flow visualizing of the role of convection cooling in the spread of linear flame fronts
  4. Numerical models in predicting atmospheric dispersion of pollutant.
  5. Development of Smouldering combustion in combustible insulation materials
  6. Effect of oxygen mass flux on applied smouldering in different conditions
  7. Carbon Monoxide Transport and Hazard from Smouldering
  8.  CFD modeling of wind driven surface flames and impact on structures 
  9.  Smouldering, self-ignition and explosions in fuel 
  10. Application of thermodynamic analysis in developing energy efficiency technologies 
  11. Heat/ mass transfer advances for energy conversion and pollution control 

My Research Supervision

Supervision keywords

Areas of supervision

  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Computational Heat Transfer
  • Design for extreme environment
  • Combustion Science 
  • Atmospheric Contaminant Transport
  • Physics Informed Machine Learning
  • Materials Combustibility and flammability
  • Computational methods in environmental fluid mechanics
  • Hydrogen and syngas production by hybrid filteration combustion 
  • Optimal configuration of hybrid renewable energy such as biomass- solar 

Currently supervising

Current PhDs: 

  • Mojtaba Ajorloo (Main supervisor)
  • AmirHossein Sabouri (Main supervisor)
  • Osman Eissa (Main supervisor)
  • Mahmoud Wally (Main supervisor)
  • Ali Edalati (Joint supervisor)
  • Mohamad Sadeghi  (Joint supervisor)
  • Dinelka Somaweera (Joint Supervisor)


Honour thesis:

  1. Rohnan Scott 
  2. Josh Lowth 
  3. Matthew Hordern
  4. Jonathan Lu
  5. Philip L. Davies


Past Post Doctoral research fellow:

  • Dr Anan Du


HDR completions (as main supervisor): 

  1. Juan Alonso
  2. Alvaro Alvarez
  3. Nirosh Nuwan Nammuni
  4. Olaoluwa Daniel Dawodu


Accepting PhD students.  

PhD positions are available for highly motivated candidate in mechanical engineering .  Knowledge and experience in working with OpenFOAM is highly desirable.

Ideal candidates should have:

  • A four-year Bachelor's and two-year MSc degrees with high WAMs (minimum of 87%) and research experience from top institutions in the field of Mechanical engineering
  • A track record of publications in top-ranked scholarly journals and presentations in peer-reviewed conferences; and,
  • Good interpersonal, communication, presentation and writing skills in English.

If you are interested in doing a PhD in my group , please send a copy of PDF combining your CV, Transcripts and English Test Results to 

My Teaching

I have taught in more than 12 undergraduate and graduate courses, including  my current teaching at UNSW and my previous academic roles at other Universities.


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Building 17, Room 130


+61 2 5114 5153

Research Activities

Lab head: Dr Maryam Ghodrat

Leading by Dr Maryam Ghodrat, Pyrometric lab is UNSW Canberra’s’ fire testing laboratory offering state of the art facilities and expertise to evaluate the fire performance of materials, products and systems.

The Pyrometric Lab is used to investigate various fire phenomena such as ignition, heat release rate, and compartment fire based on actual testing. Multiple small- and intermediate-scale experimental apparatus are housed in this lab.

Current research activities may include, but not…


Research Group lead: Dr Maryam Ghodrat 

"Adaptive design for resilient infrastructure" research group at School of Engineering and Technology, UNSW Canberra, is contributing new theories, models and computational tools for  accurate engineering design of building vulnerabilities to natural disasters such as wildfires"

Structure loss to wildfire is a serious problem in…


New 'fire lab' to help researchers develop better flame-resistant products

UNSW Canberra’s Pyrometric Lab is the first of its kind in Australia and will allow researchers to study how different materials burn.

Published on the 04 October 2023 by Elliot Williams

After entering UNSW Canberra's mechanical engineering workshop and walking past the benches covered in lawnmower engines, you'll find yourself at the entrance to the university's brand new 'fire lab'.

The Pyrometric Laboratory (to give it its proper name) is the first of its kind in Australia. It’s chock full of brand new, state-of-the-art equipment that will allow researchers and students to set fire to all manner of materials - safely of course.

By observing these objects burn and measuring how they respond to fire, researchers hope to eventually develop a range of materials that are more flame resistant. This includes eco-friendly building materials and more protective uniforms for firefighters.

The lab’s lead researcher and senior lecturer in engineering, Maryam Ghodrat, said the lab’s main focus is to help save homes, businesses and, most importantly, lives from fire.

“We’re expecting to see bigger and more destructive bushfires as we continue to feel the effects of climate change,” Dr Ghodrat said.

“That means more homes and businesses will be impacted by fire and we want to make them as safe and resistant to fire as possible.
“By testing different materials in the Pyrometric Lab we can see how they respond to fire and which are the safest. Eventually, we hope this research will lead to the development of new materials that are more flame resistant than anything currently available.

“This research can inform Australian building standards so that homes built in bushfire prone areas are as protected as they possibly can be.”

But the lab won’t only focus on building materials.

Engineering honours students, Jonathan Lu and ADFA Navy Sub Lieutenant (SBLT) Matthew Hordern, are currently undertaking two research projects in the lab that could have far-reaching benefits for firefighters and the automotive industry.

UNSW Canberra students Jonathan Lu and Matthew Hordern in the Pyrometric Lab.
UNSW Canberra honours students Jonathan Lu and Matthew Hordern are among the first people to conduct experiments in the Pyrometric Lab. Image: UNSW Canberra
Jonathan’s research involves him burning a selection of fabrics from firefighter uniforms in the ‘burner box’; one of the new pieces of equipment that is the size of a large oven and can expose materials to direct flame.

He is testing fabric from a 2013 NSW Rural Fire Service jacket and also a current Fire and Rescue uniform, one that would be used in metropolitan firefighting.

“I’m observing how the different materials respond to direct flame, and I’m interested to see how that might have changed in the years between when these uniforms were manufactured,” Jonathan said.

“If we can get a better understanding of how quickly the fabric ignites and how fast the flame spreads, it will hopefully lead to being able to produce better, more fire-resistant uniforms.

“Firefighters go into extremely dangerous situations, so if we can do something to help keep them safer and potentially save lives then that’s an awesome achievement.”
Concurrently, SBLT Hordern is setting fire to different plastic car parts he salvages from wrecking yards around Canberra. He’s looking at an entry-level car (Honda Jazz), a mid-level (Ford Focus) and a high-end car (Range Rover).

“I’m taking plastic bits from inside the car, such as centre consoles, dashboards and ‘pleather’ seats, anything that might be in the immediate vicinity of people inside a car in an accident,” SBLT Hordern said.

“If a car catches fire in an accident, that’s obviously really dangerous considering the fuel and other chemicals. But I’m interested in what happens if the plastics catch fire, and what chemicals they emit when they burn that people could be exposed to.”

Jonathan Lu sets up an experiment in the burner box.
Jonathan Lu sets up an experiment in the burner box where a piece of firefighter clothing will be burned. Image: UNSW Canberra
In addition to the ‘burner box’, the lab is also stocked with a smouldering test device, an oxygen index analyser and a structural cohesion tester. It is the only lab in Australia to have all of this equipment in one location.

Jacob Ross, the laboratory technician overseeing the lab, said it had been a challenge to get up to speed with the new equipment.

“We acquired the equipment over the past 18 months and commissioning the different machines was a challenge that required a lot of research,” Mr Ross said.

“We had to ensure we met the specific requirements of each machine so we can have confidence in the results they produce. And all the relevant safety measures had to be put in place before the students and researchers could work with them.

“It’s been a great experience to work with such high-end equipment and support the important research that will be undertaken in this lab.”

Read more about the equipment in the Pyrometric Laboratory here: