Dr. Bhattacharjee is the Primary Investigator of “Residence Time Driven Flame Spread”, that is one of the five investigations on solid fuels selected by NASA and included in the “Solid Fuel Ignition and Extinction” (SoFIE) program. With the objectives of characterizing ignition and flammability of solid spacecraft materials, this research can potentially improve EVA suit design, help determining safer materials for spacecraft and determine effective fire suppression techniques in reduced gravity. Dr. Bhattacharjee is also the Co-Investigator of the NASA “Burning and Suppression of Solids – II” (BASS-II), that focuses on burning and extinction characteristics of small flames in microgravity. Onboard of the International Space Station (ISS), further experiments on thin acrylic samples will be carried on in the next months, and they will be compared to analogous experiments and numerical simulations in the prof. Bhattacharjee’s Computational Thermodynamics Laboratory at SDSU. NASA is currently designing the new combustion experimental facility for the ISS, and Dr. Bhattacharjee’s lab is actively contributing with its several experimental apparatuses to study different phases of flame spread, from ignition to extinction. Currently three senior design groups and several masters students (4+1) are working in the lab to improve the Flame Igniter (measuring power and current needed for solid material ignition), Flame Stabilizer (flames are kept at a constant vertical location while the sample is shifting upward), and Flame Tunnel (wind tunnel to study the effects of a flow on flames) experimental setups. Several Masters students are simulating the microgravity conditions with numerical methods to optimize the future set of experiments to be carried out in the Space Station. Currently four master students, one doctoral student and several undergraduate are actively involved in research. Several German and Japanese students are scheduled to come for short-time research in our laboratory. The doctoral student, Luca Carmignani, was recently awarded the prestigious SDSU University Graduate Fellowship for 2017.
This year two peer-reviewed journal papers have been published, one in the last phase of review, and several papers were presented in three national and one international conferences.
Some of the achievements of the Bhattcharjee Group as well as an increasing database of recorded experiments are available at the research website flame.sdsu.edu. Interested students are urged to visit this website and write to firstname.lastname@example.org for any further information.