Experimental Research


Laser Spectroscopy

Our group uses a tunable diode laser for wavelength modulation (WMS) and direct absorption spectroscopy (DAS) to measure gas properties of the absorbing species (CO2 and H2O). The measurements are made in biomass heaters and in upward flame spread experiments.


Upward flame Spread

The goal of this project is to gain better understanding of how flames spread. In this specific case, we are trying to understand how flames spread vertically up the thermoplastic, Poly(methyl methacrylate), also known as PMMA. A fully coupled 2D fluid–solid direct numerical simulation (DNS) approach is used to simulate co-flow flame spread at different angles.


Biomass combustion

Our group works with a two stage wood-fired hydronic heater manufactured by Econoburn in Brocton NY. Our experimental facility is equipped with various diagnostic tools to characterize thermal performance and emissions measurements using laser spectroscopy and a hand-held Testo 330-2LL gas analyzer. The work focuses on understanding the evolution of solid fuel decomposition and its effect on emissions and system performance. We also work with a pellet stove manufactured by Quadra-fire, with the goal to improve the thermal efficiency using low-cost solutions.


Thermal Imaging

The objective of this project is to develop an optical thermometry technique using commercially available DSLR cameras. A Nikon D5500 camera is calibrated using a black body source to map the pixel intensities with black body intensity. Using red and green narrow band filters, monochromatic images are captured. The irradiance from monochromatic images and the calibrated function is utilized to perform two-color pyrometry and determine the temperature.  



A non-intrusive, optical imaging technique used to visualize density gradients in a transparent medium by partially blocking the light. The blocking of a portion of light produces a shadow gradient whose intensity is proportional to the density of the flow. The image to the left represents Schlieren of a propagating flame over an obstacle. The intent is to disrupt the flow, increasing turbulence intensity/mixing and therefore propagation speed.



The strand burner experiment makes use of a 6 liter cylindrical pressure vessel rated at 70 atm to measure the burn rate of solid propellants. Up to nine K-type thermocouples are used to measure temperature at different locations in the chamber as well as inside the propellant sample during testing.  Other equipment that is used in conjunction with the thermocouples is a pressure transducer attached to one of the top ports and an Edgertronic High Speed Camera that views the burning samples through one of the two windows located on each of the end caps.