The combustion research group at UC San Diego is focused on researching fundamental problems in combustion science, applying the results of these studies toward finding new sources of energy, reducing pollution and environmental hazards and even fire safety applications.
The group is led by Prof. Forman A. Williams, Prof. Kalyanasundaram Seshadri and Prof. Robert Cattolica. The group is based in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC San Diego. The group presently comprises 3 faculty, 2 emeritus faculty, 3 research staff members and 4 graduate students.
Studies are in progress concerning the minimization of emissions of soot and oxides of nitrogen from flames of both gaseous and liquid fuels, including sprays in Diesel and gas-turbine engines, as well as systems employing natural gas and coal. Researchers also pursue investigations of the stability of combustion chambers for propulsion applications, for example, applying their expertise in fluid mechanics, reacting flows and turbulent combustion. In addition, there are fundamental studies in microgravity combustion science, involving droplet-burning experiments in the Space Station and in other NASA facilities and fire science, developing new methods of protection for warehouse storage facilities. The combustion group at UC San Diego hosts and develops the San Diego Mechanism, which is a highly simplified chemical-kinetic mechanism for use in combustion modeling applications.