Our research activities fall in the domain of thermal and fluid sciences and they involve application of concepts of heat transfer, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, and other related subjects. Specifically, we work on the development and characterization of next-generation energetic nanomaterials. These are of interest to rocket, space, and underwater propulsion, development of advanced explosives, hydrogen generation, and other energy-conversion applications. We mostly work on metals because of their high-energy content. While most of our studies have been on aluminum, we are interested to explore other materials such as boron and magnesium. We work on a wide array of problems including but not limited to (1) combustion; (2) phase transformations; (3) heat transfer; and (4) multi-phase flows. We deal with a diverse set of energetic material formulations including solid propellants, gelled propellants, thermites, intermetallics, nanofluids, dust clouds, and isolated particles.
We work on problems of practical importance, but the focus is placed on fundamental sciences. We do high-fidelity modelling and simulations that span a wide range of scales, from atomistic to meso- and macro scales. All theoretical studies are done in companion with experimental studies or in the context of experimental data to ensure that the developed model is valid and captures the essential physics of the problem. The atomistic-scale simulations enable us to get unique insights into the physiochemical properties and processes. These are in turn used in the development of meso-/macro-scale models of heat transfer and combustion. Using atomistic-scale simulations, we have been able to (1) calculate phase transformation temperatures of nanocrystals; (2) obtain inter-atomic potential functions (or force fields) for new systems; (3) obtain thermophysical properties such interfacial free energies; (4) estimate efficiency of heat transfer in non-continuum regimes. Using meso- and macro-scale models, we have been able to (1) estimate burning rates and characterize flames of different propellants; (2) compute thrust and impulses of propellants; and (3) quantify heat transfer rates accurately for metal nanoparticles.