Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Wai Cheong Tam (Fed)

Mechanical Engineer

Dr. Andy Tam is a Mechanical Engineer in the Fire Fighting Technology Group of the Fire Research Division of the Engineering Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Prior to his tenure, Andy was a NRC Postdoctoral Research Associate at NIST after receiving his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, where he developed the neural network based radiation solver (RADNNET-ZM) for heat transfer analysis in fire research with his thesis advisor, Professor Walter W. Yuen. Currently, his research interests are thermal radiation heat transfer, machine learning for interdisciplinary research studies on smart fire fighting, fire fighters’ health monitoring, and cooktop fire prevention, and heat transfer analysis for lithium-ion batteries.

Recently Funded Proposals

A Motion-Cancelling Physiological Monitoring Device for Safe Fire Fighting
(Wai Cheong Tam, Christopher Brown, Jun Wang) ($112.5K) (FY22)

True local temperature measurement for fire exposed surfaces using fiber optic sensor array (Chao Zhang, Tobias Herman, Wai Cheong Tam, Thomas Cleary) ($120K) (FY21)

A Neural Network Approach to Smart Firefighting for Residential Buildings in Realistic Fires (Wai Cheong Tam, Tom Cleary) ($150K) (FY20)

Recent news

H2M Pic 1

AI Can Accurately Predict Potentially Fatal Cardiac Events in Firefighters

July 11, 2023
There’s a lesser-known danger to the firefighters who brave smoke and flames: stress on their hearts. But an AI-based tool developed at NIST could help predict life-threatening cardiac events.

FlashNet Pic 1

AI May Come to the Rescue of Future Firefighters

AUGUST 10, 2022
Flashover is one of the leading causes of firefighter deaths, but new research suggests that artificial intelligence (AI) could provide first responders with a much-needed heads-up. 


NIST researchers have a breakthrough that could save the lives of firefighters

JULY 8, 2021
Interview with Mr. Tom Temin from the Federal News Network

P-Flash Pic 1

How AI Could Alert Firefighters of Imminent Danger

JUNE 1, 2021
Firefighting is a race against time. Exactly how much time? For firefighters, that part is often unclear. Building fires can turn from bad to deadly in an instant, and the warning signs are frequently difficult to discern amid the mayhem of an inferno.

Recent scholars and students in my team

  • Dr. Qi Tong, Research Scientist at NIST, 2023 – Present
  • Mr. Linhao Fan, M.S. student at Zhengzhou University, CN, 2022 – Present
  • Mr. Denglin Kang, M.S. student at University of Southern California, USA, 2022 - Present
  • Dr. Jiajia Li, Research Scientist at NIST, 2022 – 2023 (Currently an UX Researcher at Google Inc., USA)
  • Mr. Michael Ngai, volunteer student from Phillips Exeter Academy, 2021 - 2022
  • Ms. Christina You, SURF student in Summer 2020 at NIST (Currently a ML engineer at META, USA)
  • Dr. Jun Wang, PostDoc at NIST from 2019 - 2020 (Currently a Data scientist at Xiaomi, CN)


External Award

Ronald K. Mengel Award - Development of an Explainable Machine Learning Based Flashover Prediction Model by NFPA Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Conference (2023)

Sheldon Tieszen Award - An Explainable Machine Learning Based Flashover Prediction Model Using Dimension-Wise Class Activation Map by the 14th International Symposium on Fire Safety Science (2023)

Honorable Mention - Alice Hamilton Award for Occupational Safety and Health by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (2021)

Best Paper Award
Assessment of Radiation Solver of Fire Simulation Models Using RADNNET-ZM in the 11th Asia-Oceania Symposium on Fire Science and Technology (2019)


Report on High Energy Arcing Fault Experiments: Experimental Results from Medium-Voltage Bus Duct and Switchgear Enclosures

Gabriel Taylor, Anthony D. Putorti Jr., Scott Bareham, Christopher U. Brown, Wai Cheong Tam, Ryan Falkenstein-Smith, Stephen Fink, Michael Heck, Edward Hnetkovsky, Nicholas Melly, Kenneth Hamburger, Kenneth Miller
This report documents an experimental program designed to investigate high energy arcing fault (HEAF) phenomena for medium-voltage, metal-enclosed bus ducts and

A review of thermal exposure and fire spread mechanisms in Large Outdoor Fires and the Built Environment

Alex Filkov, Virginie Tihay-Felicelli, Nima Masoudvaziri, David Rush, Andres Valencia, Yu Wang, David Blunck, Mario Valero, Kamila Kempna, Jeruzalemska Jan Smolka, Jacques De Beer, Zakary Campbell-Lochrie, Felipe Centeno, Muhammad Asim Ibrahim Stuvaregatan, Calisa Katiuscia Lemmertz, Wai Cheong Tam
Due to socio-economic and climatic changes around the world, large outdoor fires in the built environment have become one of the global issues that threaten

Patents (2018-Present)

Wireless Fire Hose Flow Rate Apparatus And Measuring Flow Rate In A Fire Hose

NIST Inventors
Gregory W Vogl , Wai Cheong Tam and Christopher U Brown
A wireless sensor network was used to measure water-flow rate in a fire hose. An accelerometer was chosen as the sensor to measure the flow rate based on the vibrations generated by water flowing through a fire hose close to the hose nozzle. These sensors are small, lightweight, and can attach to
Created July 30, 2019, Updated November 17, 2023