Carolyn Townsend
Headquarters, Washington, DC

(Phone: 202/358-1781)

RELEASE: 00-144

NASA Announces Research Grants in Microgravity Combustion Science

NASA has selected 28 researchers to receive grants
totaling approximately $10 million over four years to conduct
microgravity combustion research on Earth and in space. This
research will seek knowledge leading to innovative
applications in space-based life support systems, crew safety
and Earth-based energy conversion.

Sponsored by NASA’s Office of Life and Microgravity Science
and Applications, the research offers investigators the
advantage of a low-gravity environment to enhance
understanding of fundamental physical and chemical processes
associated with combustion.

Researchers will use NASA’s microgravity research facilities
such as drop-tubes, drop-towers, aircraft flying parabolic
trajectories, and sounding rockets. Flight-definition
investigators will work toward experiments on a space-flight
test bed, such as the International Space Station and Space

Twenty-six of the grants are to conduct ground-based research,
while the remaining two are flight-definition efforts. Four of
these grants are to continue work currently being funded by
NASA, but the majority (24) are new research efforts.

NASA received 119 proposals in response to its research
announcement in this area. The proposals were all peer-
reviewed by scientific and technical experts from academia,
government and industry. In addition, those proposals selected
for flight definition were reviewed for engineering
feasibility by a team from NASA’s Glenn Research Center,
Cleveland, OH.


Flight Definition Tasks


Professor Carlos Fernandez-Pello

University of California/Berkeley

Berkeley, CA

“Two-Dimensional Smoldering and its Transition to Flaming in

Dr. David L. Urban

Glenn Research Center

Cleveland, OH

“Characterization of Smoke from Microgravity Fires for
Improved Spacecraft Fire Detection”

Ground-based Tasks


Professor John Baker

University of Alabama/Birmingham

Birmingham, AL

“Magnetically-Assisted Combustion Experiment (MACE)”

Professor Daniel W. Mackowski

Auburn University

Auburn, AL

“Coupled Radiation/Thermophoresis Effects in Sooting
Microgravity Flames”


Professor Ralph C. Aldredge, III

University of California/Davis

Davis, CA

“Flame Propagation in Low-Intensity Turbulence Under
Microgravity Conditions”

Dr. Josette Bellan

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Pasadena, CA

“High Pressure Transport Properties of Fluids: Theory and
Data from Levitated Drops at Combustion-Relevant

Professor Subrata Bhattacharjee

San Diego State University

San Diego, CA

“Dynamics of Flame Spread in Microgravity Environment”

Professor Fokion N. Egolfopoulos

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA

“Detailed Studies on the Structure and Dynamics of Reacting
Dusty Flows at Normal- and Micro-Gravity”

Professor Michael Frenklach

University of California/Berkeley

Berkeley, CA

“Microgravity Production of Nanoparticles of Novel Materials
Using Plasma Synthesis”

Dr. Howard Pearlman

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA

“Determination of Cool Flame Quenching Distances at

Professor Zuhair Munir

University of California/Davis

Davis, CA

“Electric Field Effects in Self-Propagating High-Temperature
Combustion Synthesis Under Microgravity Conditions”


Professor Hai Wang

University of Delaware

Newark, DE

“Soot Formation in Purely-Curved Premixed Flames and Laminar
Flame Speed of Soot-Forming Flames”

District of Columbia

Dr. Gopal Patnaik

Naval Research Laboratory

Washington, DC

“Unsteady Multidimensional Numerical Simulations of Flame
Vortex Interactions in Microgravity”


Professor John D. Buckmaster

University of Illinois

Urbana, IL

“Smolder-Edge-Waves and Edge-Flames”

Professor Moshe Matalon

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

“Modeling Microgravity Non-Premixed Combustion Systems”


Dr. Yudaya Sivathanu

En*Urga Inc.

West Lafayette, IN

“Fan Beam Emission Tomography for Non-Symmetric Laminar


Professor Gerald M. Colver

Iowa State University

Ames, IA

“Quenching of Particle-Gas Combustion Mixtures Using Electric
Particulate Suspension (EPS) and Dispersion Methods”


Professor Jose Torero

University of Maryland

College Park, MD

“Material Properties Governing Cocurrent Flame Spread in

New Jersey

Dr. David G. Keil

Titan Corporation

Princeton, NJ

“Particle Generation and Evolution in Silane/Acetylene Flames
in Microgravity”


Dr. Fletcher J. Miller

Glenn Research Center

Cleveland, OH

“Gravitational Influences on Flame Propagation Through Non-
Uniform Premixed Gas Systems”

Dr. Vedha Nayagam

National Center for Microgravity Research

Cleveland, OH

“Stretched Diffusion Flames in von Karman Swirling Flows”

Dr. Sandra Olson

Glenn Research Center

Cleveland, OH

“Development of an Earth-Based Apparatus to Assess Material
Flammability in Low-Convection Environments for Microgravity
and Extraterrestrial Fire-Safety Applications”

Dr. Howard Ross

Glenn Research Center

Cleveland, OH

“Secondary Fires: Initiation and Extinguishment”

Dr. Fumiaki Takahashi

National Center for Microgravity Research

Cleveland, OH

“Physical and Chemical Aspects of Fire Suppression in
Extraterrestrial Environments”

Dr. Randy Vander Wal

National Center for Microgravity Research

Cleveland, OH

“Carbon Nanostructure: Its Evolution During and its Impact on
Soot Growth and Oxidation”

Dr. Zeng-guang Yuan

National Center for Microgravity Research

Cleveland, OH

“Effects of Electric Fields on Soot Processes in Non-Buoyant
Hydrocarbon-Fueled Flames”


Professor Gary A. Ruff

Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA

“Combustion of Unsupported Droplet Clusters in Microgravity”


Professor James J. Riley

University of Washington

Seattle, WA

“Investigation of the Liftoff and Blowout of Transitional and
Turbulent Jet Flames”