Academic Credentials
  • Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2017
  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2012
  • M.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2012
Licenses & Certifications
  • Professional Engineer, Illinois, #062073611
  • Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI)
  • Certified Vehicle Fire Investigator (CVFI)
Professional Honors
  • SFPE Educational and Scientific Foundation Student Scholar Award, 2017
  • SFPE Chicago Chapter Scholarship, 2016-2017

Dr. Traina specializes in investigating and analyzing fires, evaluating the fire performance of materials and products, performing building and fire code assessments, performing safety evaluations of consumer products, and providing technical consulting services for natural gas facilities and pipelines. He performs origin and cause investigation of fires and explosions and has performed these investigations in residential, industrial, and commercial structures.  

In addition, Dr. Traina has experience with vehicle fire investigations including consumer vehicles, agricultural equipment, and other heavy equipment.

While at Exponent, he also has evaluated the safety of consumer products in regards to thermal and fire safety performance. Some of the evaluated products include electric and fuel-based indoor fireplaces, refrigeration equipment, clothing and apparel, and cooking appliances. He also provides technical consulting services for natural gas facilities and pipelines. Some examples of his experience include risk analyses of unintentional and intentional releases of flammable gases and root cause analyses of incidents involving natural gas pipelines, which have involved overpressure incidents, equipment failure incidents, and accidental ignition incidents during intentional releases of flammable gas. He also has been involved in numerous investigations of residential structure explosions from flammable gas leaks.

Dr. Traina's background is in mechanical engineering with a focus on fluid mechanics, heat transfer, laser diagnostics, combustion, and fire dynamics. He has extensive experience with fire dynamics in residential environments and has studied the effectiveness of different fire-service tactics, including ventilation and water application, on controlling fires containing modern fuel loads. He has also examined the threat of radiant and convective heat, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen cyanide to potentially trapped occupants and quantified the typical timelines available for occupants to escape residential structures for kitchen, living room, and bedroom fires in one-story and two-story structures.

Prior to joining Exponent, he completed his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His thesis focused on tenability and laser diagnostics in the fire environment. Using laser absorption spectroscopy, he was able to successfully implement a tunable diode laser technique for measuring water vapor and a mid-infrared laser technique for measuring hydrogen cyanide in the highly corrosive environment created during large-scale fires. He was also able to successfully implement a porcine skin surrogate model to quantify the risk of fire-service water application steaming potentially trapped occupants.