Laser Diagnostics Laboratory for Advanced Energy and Propulsion Research

Mechanical Science and Engineering College of Engineering University of Illinois



Research at the Laser Diagnostics Laboratory...

is dedicated to scientific research in applying advanced laser diagnostics to investigate the combustion characteristics of  new and advanced propulsion systems, energetically enhanced combustion and thermal oxidation of alternative and renewable fuels. Efforts are also being made to investigate innovative combustion concepts with higher efficiency and cleaner chemistry. Our objectives are 1) to provide solutions for a new and advanced propulsion systems based on innovative technology and 2) to provide solutions for a new energy infrastructure based on alternative and sustainable energy sources.




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Development of Advanced Laser Imaging Strategies

Advanced optical diagnostics strategies (focus on laser-induced-fluorescence 2D imaging) are developed for application in practical combustion systems. Studies include simulation of practical combustion conditions, study of relevant molecular spectroscopy and optimization of multi-spectral excitation and detection strategies. Efforts are underway to develop high speed PLIF imaging strategies for species detection and thermometry.


Propulsion and Engine Systems Research

Laser diagnostics aimed at detection of chemical species, temperature and flow velocities in high-pressure and/or supersonic propulsion systems are developed. Similar efforts are also being made for optical diagnostics of combustion in IC engines. The results can be used for optimization of reactor design, testing of new combustion concepts, study of fundamental combustion and fluid dynamics as well as reduction of pollutant byproducts.


ACT-II Supersonic Combustion Facility


Plasma Enhanced Combustion for Scramjet Applications

Laser diagnostics are applied for study of combustion enhancement by using electromagnetic radiation from a plasma discharge. Study is underway to investigate a highly efficient method of coupling plasma energy directly into the reaction zone to enhance chemical energy conversion. Efforts will be made to implement an optimized system for combustion enhancement in a scramjet engine (in collaboration with Air Force Research Laboratory).


Combustion Characterization of Alternative Fuel Blends

One of our missions is to provide state of the art combustion characterization of alternative and renewable fuels. This includes coal derived liquid fuels, hydrogen from coal gasification, and bio-based fuels. Currently, our efforts are geared towards integration of new biofuel components to JP-8 as well as formulation of next generation biodiesel using a novel aerosol rapid compression machine.


Energetically Enhanced Combustion

Alternative methods for enhancing the combustion process such as using energetic nanoparticles or turbulent jet ignition are being actively investigated in our laboratory. The focus is to provide new methods which can be used to seamlessly integrate new fuel blends with a wide range of ignition properties as well as provide more powerful thrust capabilities for aerospace propulsion.


Alternative Energy Conversion

The Laser Diagnostics Laboratory is conducting research to enhance the performance of passive proton exchange membrane fuel cells using optical and laser diagnostics under controlled load conditions. The goal is to optimize the oxidizer supply unit for maximized power output.



 We are grateful to the following agencies for research funding


Copyright 2016 University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign