In this 13-part series of monthly articles, The Combustion Institute recognizes the 2019 Distinguished Papers selected from among the scientific papers presented during the 37th International Symposium on Combustion. Congratulations to Wen Yu Peng, Séan J. Cassady, Christopher L. Strand, Christopher S. Goldenstein, R. Mitchell Spearrin, Christopher M. Brophy, Jay B. Jeffries and Ronald K. Hanson for winning the DPA in the Diagnostics colloquium.

Their authoritative paper Single-ended mid-infrared laser-absorption sensor for time-resolved measurements of water concentration and temperature within the annulus of a rotating detonation engine, has furthered research on specialized measurement devices to fundamentally understand how well experimental rotating detonation engine prototypes are performing relative to what is theoretically possible. The team’s research was focused on developing such a device to help answer critical questions such as how efficiently the engine is burning fuel and how intense are the temperature fluctuations in the exhaust gas. The impact was immediate – for the first time, test engineers could receive instant feedback on performance after each engine experiment using the device.

Additionally, the new laser-based measurement techniques introduced in this work show that it’s possible to make accurate measurements of multiple performance parameters inside of combustion engines without having to make significant modifications to accommodate the device. While there are still numerous technological milestones remaining in the use of detonation-based engines, the researchers are hopeful that the device developed will help accelerate research and development efforts and improve the understanding of the underlying physics governing these types of engines.

This specific development will directly benefit the international detonation engine research community. With further engineering refinements, the device can be mass-manufactured for use in all existing detonation engine prototypes and research programs.

The research was conducted at Stanford University and Naval Postgraduate School.

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 the Silver Combustion Medal that will be awarded during the 38th International Symposium in 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.