Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering
Multiscale Data-Driven Modeling of Complex Reacting Systems in Combustion, Propulsion, and Emissions
Dr. Michael Burke
Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 3:30:00 PM Add to Calendar
Understanding and being able to predict the outcomes of complex reaction systems would be invaluable to varied scientific and engineering disciplines, ranging from enabling future energy, aerospace, and chemical processing technologies to understanding the Earth’s climate and the potential origins of life beyond Earth. Yet, unraveling and making predictions of complex reaction systems, which often proceed via ~100s of intermediate chemical species and ~1000s of intermediate reactions, are notoriously challenging tasks. A common theme is that physics and data from a single scale are rarely sufficient to enable definitive explanations and truly predictive models. In particular, purely macroscopic reaction models are often too inaccurate to be used as reliable predictive design tools for engineering devices like gas turbine engines. Here, I describe how combining ab initio theoretical chemistry, multiscale modeling, and data science aids in overcoming such challenges. These ideas will be demonstrated primarily via examples relevant to combustion and emissions formation for carbon-free fuels (e.g., H2 and NH3) and CHNO propellants. Extensions of these ideas to other domains (e.g., plasmas and destruction of chemical weapons) will also be explored. I will close with the vision that linking automated versions of the methods discussed – which is not entirely unfeasible – would effectively create a robotic scientific community of experimentalists, theoreticians, and modelers that collaborate to advance scientific understanding of complex reacting systems at an accelerated pace.
Michael P. Burke is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Columbia University, where he also holds affiliate appointments in Chemical Engineering and the Data Science Institute. Prior to joining Columbia in 2014, Burke earned his Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in 2011 at Princeton University, where he was a Wallace Memorial Honorific Fellow, and he worked as a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division at Argonne National Laboratory. Burke is a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s CAREER award, the Combustion Institute’s Research Excellence Award, and the American Chemical Society’s PRF Doctoral New Investigator Award. His publications have been featured in the News and Views section of Nature Chemistry, selected as the Feature Article in Combustion and Flame, and chosen for the Distinguished Paper Award at the 31st International Symposium on Combustion.