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Combustion and Energy Systems

Mechanical Engineering Research

The members of this group perform fundamental and applied research on a wide variety of problems in Combustion, Shock Wave Physics, Heat Transfer, and Compressible Gas Dynamics. Current research projects include the combustion of alternative liquid fuels for automotive and aircraft propulsion, super-adiabatic combustion, combustion of solid particles with water for hydrogen production, particle combustion in air and fuel-air mixtures, thermal energy storage systems, loop heat pipes, heat transfer enhancement using micro-encapsulated phase-change slurries, porous media, cooling of net-book computers, ultra-compact heat exchangers, optimization of heat transfer devices, fundamental propagation mechanisms of shock waves, detonations and explosions, computational modeling of hypersonic aerodynamics, high speed propulsion, oblique-detonation combustion for scramjet engines, and thermo-acoustics and combustion noise.

Facilities include the Alternative Fuels Laboratory, equipped with state-of-the-art laser diagnostic equipment (velocimetry and species diagnostics) for the study of the combustion of liquid biofuels for automotive and aircraft applications. Gas chromatography and thermal gravimetric analysis equipment are also used to investigate chemical reactions and product compositions. The Shock Wave Physics Group has advanced equipment for the study of high-speed turbulent deflagration and detonation phenomena including: high-speed photographic equipment, shock and detonation tubes, blast chambers, combustion synthesis apparatus, and solid particle combustion facilities. The Heat Transfer Laboratory has equipment and rigs for the study of fluid flow and heat transfer in interrupted-surface ducts, mini-channels, porous media, solid-liquid phase change systems, loop heat pipes, and closed-loop thermo-siphons operating with microencapsulated phase-change slurries. The thermo-acoustic cooling laboratory includes a gas chromatography system, NC water heaters and accelerometers. Students also have access to the CLUMEQ supercomputer system for large-scale simulations of high-speed and reacting flows.

The research is funded primarily through the federal and provincial governments through NSERC, CFI, and FQRNT programs. Many of the research projects are conducted in collaboration with industrial and governmental partners including Pratt & Whitney, Rolls Royce, Intel, Martec Ltd., Allen Vanguard, and the Canadian Space Agency.

Primary Academic Faculty

Associated Academic Faculty

Research Labs and Groups

Research Facilities

  • Laser diagnostic laboratory
  • Heat transfer laboratory
  • Shock wave imaging laboratory
  • Shock and detonation tube laboratory
  • Blast chamber
  • Combustion synthesis facility
  • Metal particle combustion apparatus
  • Thermo-acoustic cooling laboratory