Grayson Bellamy Prepares to Defend His Thesis
Doctoral Student's Career Developing at FSRI

It’s no surprise Grayson Bellamy is the first doctoral student to ever receive a fellowship from the Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI), part of UL Research Institutes. He has spent much of his academic career with FSRI – researching, learning, and developing expertise in fire dynamics and engineering.

Grayson first learned about FSRI through his father, who is also a fire engineer. They traveled to UL Solutions headquarters to assist with an experiment examining fire sprinkler configurations for protecting difficult warehouse commodities. An undergrad at the time, Grayson found the experience interesting and decided to apply for an internship at FSRI.

Grayson's internship began in 2019, when he became involved with several FSRI research projects, including developing display boards for the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) and assisting with the Coordinated Fire Attack Study of garden-style apartments. The following year, he received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Georgia and shortly thereafter began a master’s fellowship at FSRI.

While Grayson's mentors proposed a number of different topics for his fellowship research, he ultimately settled on fire testing apparatus designed to test the thermal decomposition of materials in an inert environment and his research began in 2021. Grayson worked on building and updating the Controlled Atmosphere Pyrolysis Apparatus (CAPA) – an instrument used for determining the thermal transport properties of materials during thermal decomposition. After receiving a master’s degree in fire protection engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) the following year, he was awarded an FSRI fellowship for the pursuit of a doctoral degree.

Research for his Ph.D. fellowship is underway. Building upon his master’s work, Grayson is studying the decomposition of wood-based fuels in oxidative environments, such as wildland environments, or wherever charring may take place due to the presence of oxygen.

“I chose this topic because it wasn’t heavily studied or commonly understood,” said Grayson. “I saw it as an underdeveloped area of research and thought I could develop it further.”

Mostly working independently, Grayson has two mentors who guide and advise him with his doctoral research – Mark McKinnon, FSRI Research Engineer, and Dr. Stanislav Stoliarov, Professor and Director of FireTEC at UMD.

With two years remaining in Grayon's Ph.D. program, there is an opportunity for him to continue learning and developing his fire dynamics and engineering expertise in the classroom and through real-world application. He recently published a journal article with the Fire Safety Journal, Characterization of High Temperature Paints for Infrared Thermography in Fire Research, which is a major career milestone as it is his first published paper of many to come. Grayson led this investigation and collaborated on this article with McKinnon, Matthew DiDomizio, FSRI research engineer, and Malhar Patel, an FSRI intern.

Throughout his experience at FSRI, Grayson has developed a genuine appreciation for the research process and has found a community to help guide his research and achieve significant accomplishments. He anticipates earning his Ph.D. in 2025.