MAE Seminar (Zoom): Combustion, a Transdisciplinary Intersection of Molecular and Thermomechanical Physics
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
North Carolina State University
Abstract: Combustion has shaped lives and civilization by its destructiveness and its utility. Less widely appreciated is its role in shaping science at the intersection of molecular and thermomechanical physics. One of humanity's oldest technologies, it is still proving vital to creating new science and technologies. Consider how it has been essential to discovery of the elements, the invention of thermodynamics, and the advances of spectroscopy, laser diagnostics, computational quantum chemistry and modeling of turbulence and reacting flows. At the same time, these advances also illustrate the growing transdisciplinarity of engineering, in which core disciplinary strengths are leveraged for more effective collaboration. I will illustrate these ideas using our research on flammability, biofuels, pollutants and chemical-looping manufacturing.
Bio: Phil Westmoreland is professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at North Carolina State University. His research is in reaction kinetics, focusing on energy, pollution prevention and reaction engineering using experimental, computational and theoretical approaches. His chemical engineering degrees are from North Carolina State University (B.S. ’73), Louisiana State University (M.S. ’75) and MIT (Ph.D. ’86). He worked for Union Carbide/Oak Ridge National Laboratory from 1974-79, served on the chemical engineering faculty at University of Massachusetts Amherst from 1986-2009, and served at the National Science Foundation from 2006-2009. He is also Honorary Professor at Nanjing University of Technology, was 2015 Professeur invité at the Université de Lorraine and was the 2015-16 Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professor at Imperial College London.
Westmoreland was the 2013 president of AIChE and is a trustee and former president of the educational nonprofit CACHE Corporation. In 2000, he was the founding chair of AIChE’s Computational Molecular Science and Engineering Forum. He has served as a board member of the Combustion Institute (2002-2014), Council for Chemical Research (2005-07) and AIChE (2009-11). He has been recognized recently by the 2017 AIChE Institute Award for Excellence in Industrial Gases Technology, by being elected a fellow of AIChE and of the Combustion Institute, and by selection for NC State's Alumni Association Distinguished Research Award and its Research Leadership Academy in 2019.