In this 13-part series of articles, The Combustion Institute recognizes the 2021 Distinguished Papers selected from among the scientific papers presented during the 38th International Symposium on Combustion. Congratulations to Hyung Sub Sim, Noud Maes, Lukas Weiss, Lyle M. Pickett, and Scott A. Skeen for winning the DPA in the Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines colloquium.

In their paper, Detailed measurements of transient two-stage ignition and combustion processes in high-pressure spray flames using simultaneous high-speed formaldehyde PLIF and schlieren imaging, researchers Sub Sim, Maes, Weiss, Pickett, and Skeen set out to understand the nature of the ignition and combustion processes of liquid hydrocarbon fuels under high temperature and pressure conditions. Such severe conditions complicate the application of optical diagnostics in planar species measurements. To visualize how combustion products form, propagate, and consume during the ignition process, they used a high-speed burst pulse laser; using such a high-speed planar diagnostic system set the research team apart, and allowed them to offer detailed information to the combustion community.

Using their high-speed planar laser diagnostics, they studied high-pressure spray flames, and expanded the field’s understanding of the ignition and combustion processes in compression ignition engines. Their study provided not only an experimental database for improving current computational predictive capabilities, but also an edge to further develop high-performance and low-emission combustion engines for cars, aircrafts, and power generation.

The research team’s findings benefit the combustion research society, engine manufacturers, and developers of new and/or optimized fuels. However, the long-term benefits benefit everyone on the planet: the research contributes to the development of more efficient engines with low emission rates. The team is closely collaborating with engine manufacturers around the world to develop greener, and longer-lasting combustion systems, reducing fossil fuels in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Beginning the design of their experimental systems and diagnostics in January 2019, the team conducted their research at Sandia’s Combustion Research Facility. The Combustion Research Facility (CRF) is a world-recognized laboratory in combustion science and technology in the United States.

Over 1,700 papers were submitted to the 38th International Symposium on Combustion. All papers were categorized into one of 13 colloquia, and then distributed to colloquium coordinators and co-chairs. Each paper was reviewed by at least three qualified individuals from a pool of over 1,000 peer scientific reviewers. Less than 50 percent of the papers submitted are accepted for presentation.

Following the symposium, one paper presented in each colloquium is awarded the distinction of Distinguished Paper. Visit here to view the presentation. The 13 Distinguished Papers undergo committee review for consideration for the Silver Combustion Medal. A paper selected for this honor exemplifies quality, achievement, and significance to advance a field of combustion science, and will be awarded during the 39th International Symposium in Vancouver, Canada.