Academic Credentials
  • Ph.D., Energetics, Politecnico di Torino, Italy, 2011
  • M.Eng., Mechanical Engineering, Politecnico di Torino, Italy, 2005
Licenses & Certifications
  • Professional Engineer Mechanical, California, #38704
  • Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI)
  • Registered Professional Industrial Engineer
Academic Appointments
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Energy Department, Politecnico di Torino, Italy, 2010-2012
  • Research Associate, BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering, University of Edinburgh, UK, 2009-2010
  • Visiting Researcher, BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering, University of Edinburgh, UK, 2007-2008
Professional Honors
  • Committee on Operational Safety of Underground Facilities (ITA-COSUF) 2014 Award
  • Best Paper Award. 2020 IEEE Symposium on Product Compliance Engineering
  • Best Paper Award, International Symposium on Tunnel Safety and Security, 2014
Professional Affiliations
  • Principal member of NFPA 502 - Standard for Road Tunnels, Bridges, and other Limited Access Highways
  • Alternate member of NFPA 1700 - Guide for Structural Fire Fighting
  • Alternate member of NFPA 2112: Standard on Flame-Resistant Clothing for Protection of Industrial Personnel against Short-Duration Thermal Exposures from Fire
  • Alternate member of NFPA 2113: Standard on Selection, Care, Use, and Maintenance of Flame-Resistant Garments for Protection of Industrial Personnel against Short-Duration Thermal Exposures from Fire
  • Member of IEC TC US TAG 108
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
  • Editorial board member of the NFPA journal Fire Technology (2014-2020)
  • The International Association for Fire Safety Science — IAFSS
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
  • National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI)
  • Italian
  • Spanish

Dr. Francesco Colella is a Senior Managing Engineer in Exponent's Thermal Sciences practice. He specializes in mechanical engineering and in the areas of fluid-mechanics, heat transfer, thermodynamics, fire dynamics and combustion. Application areas include fire and explosion origin & cause investigations, failure analysis of industrial equipment and consumer products, battery systems, heat transfer systems, fuel distributions and storage systems.

Dr. Colella has broad experience investigating and solving complex multidisciplinary problems in a large variety of applications including fires and explosions in underground structures, parking garages, ships and residential structures, wildland fires, battery thermal management, consumer products, atmospheric flows and a wide range of energy systems. He has extensive experience evaluating the consequences and risks associated with the release of toxic and flammable substances, fires and explosions in Oil and Gas facilities including LNG terminals, peak shaving plants and other industrial facilities. In this context, he routinely evaluates such facilities with current and historical regulations, codes, and guidelines.

Dr. Colella has worked extensively in the analysis of condensation phenomena in a multitude of applications including industrial equipment (i.e. storage systems, pressure vessels, photovoltaic systems) as well as in the context of slip-and-fall accidents. He has extensive experience in the analysis and investigation of burn injuries in the context of industrial and residential accidents and he also works proactively with industry to characterize the burn risk associated with wearable devices and various consumer products.

Dr. Colella is currently principal member of the NFPA 502 committee (Standard for Road Tunnels, Bridges, and other Limited Access Highways) and also a member of the NFPA 1700, NFPA 2112 and NFPA 2113 committees.

Prior to joining Exponent, Dr. Colella was a postdoctoral research assistant in the Energy Department at the Politecnico di Torino (Italy), and research assistant at the BRE Centre for fire safety engineering at the University of Edinburgh (UK). For his doctoral thesis, he developed a multiscale 1D-3D CFD technique to reduce the computational time for tunnel fire safety applications. During his career, he carried out several CFD analyses of ventilation systems for various major tunnels in Europe. In addition, Dr. Colella worked on the development of numerical models to analyze the ignition behavior of porous fuel beds for wildland fire applications and to characterize the heating behavior of passive fire protection materials subject to jet fire and rapid-rise fire tests.