UA Engineering Hosting Sustainable Energy Seminar Series

combustion-logoTUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Seven internationally-recognized experts in energy will speak at The University of Alabama throughout the spring semester.

“The purpose of this seminar series is both to enlighten students and encourage collaboration in the energy area,” said Dr. Ajay Agrawal, the Robert F. Barfield Endowed Chair and professor of mechanical engineering at UA. “We want to bring top researchers to the University to both learn from them and display our advanced research capabilities and facilities.”

The seminars begin Feb. 7 with one more in this month, two in March and three in April, the last on April 15. All lectures begin at 2 p.m. in the room 1023 in the South Engineering Research Center. Seminars are suitable for a wide audience with some technical background. They include:

Feb. 7 – Vigor Yang, professor and chair of aerospace engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, will provide an overview of combustion instabilities in solid‐rocket, liquid‐rocket, gas turbine, and ramjet/scramjet engines addressing acoustic, fluid mechanics and chemistry issues.

Feb. 21 – Anastasios Melis, professor of plant and microbial biology at the University of California, Berkeley, will discuss the application of photosynthesis for the direct generation and release of fuels and chemicals, bypassing the need to harvest and process the respective biomass.

March 7 – Margaret Wooldridge, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan, will talk about effects of different fuels on ignition systems, spanning chemically controlled reactors to production internal combustion engines

March 14 – Mohan Razdan, chief engineer of combustion and casings for the Rolls‐Royce Corp., will offer an industrial perspective on major challenges to developing advanced gas turbine combustors for aircraft engines.

April 4 – Gary Settles, professor of mechanical engineering at Pennsylvania State University, will discuss interesting applications of techniques used to study fluid flows phenomena as well as to create intriguing artwork.

April 11 – Derek Dunn‐Rankin, professor and chair of mechanical engineering at the University of California, Irvine, will describe combustion of methane released from gas hydrates, ice‐like crystalline solids found in large quantities on the seafloor and in the arctic permafrost.

April 15 – Mark Musculus, scientist at the Combustion Research Facility in Sandia National Laboratory, will focus on science‐based understanding of new, clean combustion strategies for high fuel‐efficiency internal combustion engines using advanced optical and laser‐based diagnostic techniques.

The series is sponsored by the Institute for Sustainable Energy and the department of mechanical engineering within the UA College of Engineering.

The Institute for Sustainable Energy at UA is a group focused to promote energy research on UA campus.  The institute is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy.

In 1837, The University of Alabama became one of the first five universities in the nation to offer engineering classes. Today, UA’s fully accredited College of Engineering has more than 3,900 students and more than 110 faculty. In the last eight years, students in the College have been named USA Today All-USA College Academic Team members, Goldwater, Hollings, Portz, Mitchell and Truman scholars.


Adam Jones, engineering public relations, 205/348-6444,


Dr. Ajay K Agrawal, professor of mechanical engineering, at