Often a useful tool, but occasionally a disaster, fire has accompanied mankind for millennia. Protecting our ancestors from the coldness, darkness, predators, and stomach bacteria, combustion has brought primitive, tribal humans into the modern industrial society. In spite of the modern striking achievements in alternative/renewable energy such as solar, wind, and geothermal, as well as nuclear fission/fusion, combustibles will likely remain the dominant source of energy for industry, heating, and transportation in the foreseeable decades, which motivates, strongly, a continued interest in the combustion research. Besides, fire safety issues will always remain important for people, governments, and insurance companies. The lecturer has worked on several interconnected problems in combustion science: intrinsic flame instabilities; turbulent burning; flame interaction with acoustics, shocks, combustor walls, interior obstacles; and flame acceleration, with a particular interest in the deflagration-to-detonation transition (DDT). The last items lie behind countless disasters in coal mines, power plants, and rocketry, though they can also be constructively utilized in novel energy-efficient technologies such as pulse-detonation engines. The lecturer and his colleagues have developed a predictive scenario of a coalmine fire; determined the turbulent flame speeds; analyzed self-similar acceleration of freely-expanding flames; revealed several distinctive stages of DDT in micro-tubes/channels; developed theories describing the dynamics and morphology of a flame front; and substantiated the theories through the computational simulations. The talk will focus on elucidating the similarities and differences between the flame dynamics in various configurations, and will also briefly overview the extension of combustion science to astrophysics and plasma physics, as well as materials science applications.
Dr. V’yacheslav Akkerman
He graduated from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Russia, with B.Sc. (2001) and M.Sc. (2003), and he received his Ph.D. from Umeå University, Sweden, in 2007. Dr. Akkerman also holds a Candidate of Sciences degree from the Nuclear Safety Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He was a visiting researcher in the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), in 2007, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Turbulence Research, co-leaded by Stanford University and NASA Ames Research Center, in 2007–2008, and a professional research staff member at Princeton University, in 2008–2012, until he joined the faculty of West Virginia University, as an Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2017. His research has been sponsored, in particular, by the NSF, DoE, Environmental Defense Fund, and Alpha Foundation for the Improvement of Mine Safety and Health. Dr. Akkerman is a 2016 NSF CAREER awardee and a 2016 West Virginia University’s Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources’ Outstanding Researcher of the Year.