In this installment of a 13-part series, The Combustion Institute recognizes the 2019 Distinguished Papers selected from among the scientific papers presented during the 37th International Symposium on Combustion. Congratulations to Jonathan Sosa, Jessica Chambers, Kareem A. Ahmed, Alexei Poludnenko, and Vadim N. Gamezo for winning the DPA in the Detonations, Explosions, and Supersonic Combustion colloquium. 

Their authoritative paper, Compressible turbulent flame speeds of highly turbulent standing flames has advanced research in the area of propulsion engine performance and efficient power generation in next generation technologies like rotating detonation engines. The primary objective was to understand the mechanisms of turbulence-induced deflagration-to-detonation transition relating to significant engine performance. The team also revealed the mechanism of the most powerful explosion known to mankind, supernovas, thus answering the question of the origin of the universe – the Big Bang. A new discovery of these highly compressible turbulent flames and spontaneous runaway mechanism of turbulent compressible flames opens the field for new scientific explorations in turbulent combustion. Their breakthrough is called “turbulent mixing.” The team was able to take a regular flame like one from a campsite or a lighter and turn it into a “hypersonic flame” which travels at five times the speed of sound. The team believes they can reach speeds of Mach 8 eventually. This new discovery is key for using these high-Mach fast flames for hypersonic air-breathing scramjet propulsion engines, a specific type of engine that can propel an aircraft to five times the speed of sound and above. These findings could lead to engines and aircraft that would make traveling from coast to coast in under an hour possible and provide new techniques to manage intense wildfires and massive explosions. 

The team’s research efforts took place under American Chemical Society and Air Force Office of Scientific Research grants. The research was conducted at the Propulsion and Energy Research Laboratory at the University of Central Florida, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Center for Advanced Turbomachinery and Energy Research.

Over 1,600 papers were submitted to the 37th Symposium in 13 combustion science colloquia. Those papers were categorized by teams of colloquium coordinators and co-chairs, and then distributed to approximately 1,000 scientific reviewers. One paper in each discipline was awarded the recognition of Distinguished Paper. 

The 13 Distinguished Papers undergo committee review for consideration to receive theSilver Combustion Medalthat will be awarded during the 38th International Symposiumin Adelaide, Australia. A paper selected for this honor exemplifies quality, achievement, and significance to advance a field of combustion science. Distinguished papers are selected biennially from among the scientific papers presented during the International Symposium on Combustion and accepted for publication in the Proceedings of The Combustion Institute.