MAE Seminar: Enabling Ultra-High-Efficiency Propulsion and Power Generation: Detonation Chemistry, Dynamics and Control

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Xian Shi, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
UC Irvine

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Abstract: The quest for affordable and clean access to power and transportation has inspired many new energy conversion concepts and innovations in recent years. Detonation, traditionally considered as uncontrollable, is now garnering attention as a potentially new method for combustion energy release and propulsion. There are, however, substantial fundamental gaps in our understanding of detonation phenomena that impede the rapid development of detonation engines. To bridge the gaps, we utilize both experiments and numerical simulations to study the chemistry and dynamics of detonation in confined geometries. In this talk, I will describe how the detonation structure may be altered by manipulating its chemistry through reactant doping. This method – a unique scientific tool in its own right – is shown to extend the operating limits of detonation and also yield fundamental insight into the controlling mechanism of detonation cellular structure and stability. The second part of the talk introduces a first-of-its-kind, physics-based geometric approach to modeling detonation propagation dynamics. It will be shown that this approach accurately predicts detonation propagation in a computationally tractable manner, can handle real engineering geometries, and reveal interactions of shock waves and their effects on the detonation wave propagation. Remaining challenges in detonation research will be discussed with an emphasis on both the fundamental aspects and practical utilization of detonation waves.

Bio: Xian Shi is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC Irvine. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from UC Berkeley, and his B.Eng. degree from Tongji University. His research seeks to enable next-generation energy conversion and propulsion technologies through studying the fundamental physics and chemistry of reacting flows and materials.