Indrek Wichman

Indrek Wichman

Indrek Wichman



Indrek S. Wichman is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. His principal area of research is combustion. Forays have also been made into heat transfer in composite materials, Green Roof analysis, solid mechanics, education research, and into writing --- with Professor Pence --- a graduate-level textbook on applied mathematics for engineers. Dr. Wichman’s research uses analytical and numerical modeling techniques as well as direct experimental methods. The main combustion topics are related to flame spread over fuel surfaces, flame/surface interaction during combustion, microgravity combustion, ignition and quenching of combustion, and engine combustion with emphasis on TJI = Turbulent Jet Ignition. There is a significant level of effort on the topic of TJI at Michigan State University: see also Dr. Schock and Dr. Toulson’s bios. Dr. Wichman was attracted to mechanics generally (solids, fluids, dynamical systems) as an undergraduate at Stony Brook University. Those topics subsequently congealed to “burning fluids and surfaces” --- namely, combustion. He is pleased to be teaching at MSU after earning his Ph.D. at Princeton University and holding a postdoctoral appointment at NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology). He has also held research scientist appointments at the Teknologian Tutkimuskeskus (= Finnish Technical Research Institute, Helsinki, Finland), at Ecole Centrale de Paris and and Institut Français du Petrole (Paris, France), and at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Trondheim, Norway).


      Research Areas:

          Combustion Theory

          Experiment and Simulations

          Flame and Fire Spread

          Flame Surface Interaction

          Ignition and Quenching

          Modeling of Complex Gas and Solid Phase Processes


      Professional Service:

  • President-Elect, Central States Section of the Combustion Institute: 2007-2009.
  • Chair, Central States Section of the Combustion Institute: 2009-2011.
  • High School Outreach: Used funds gathered by hosting successful Combustion meetings (for which revenues exceeded anticipated costs) to support High School outreach programs introducing Combustion to High School students in their senior level Chemistry courses.
  • Conference chair, Central States Section Meeting of the Combustion Institute, Cleveland, OH (2006) and several others since.
Research Area
Ph.D., Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University 1983
M.S., Engineering Mechanics, Virginia Polytechnic Institute 1979
B.S.M.E., Mechanical Engineering, State University of New York at Stony Brook 1978
Nguyen, Y. T., Pence, T. J. and Wichman, I. S., “Crack Formation During Solid Pyrolysis: Evolution, Pattern Formation and Statistical Behaviour,” Proceedings of the Royal Society A, Vol. 475, 20190211.
Nguyen, Y. T., Wichman, I. S. and Pence, T. J., “Cracking During Flame Spread over Pyrolyzing Solids,” Progress in Scale Modeling, Vol. 1 (2020).
Wichman, I. S., Nguyen, Y. and Pence, T. J., “A Model for Crack Formation During Active Solid Pyrolysis of a Char-Forming Solid: Crack Patterns; Surface Area Generation; Volatile Mass Efflux, Combustion Theory and Modelling, 2020.
Hossain, S., Wichman, I. S., Miller, F. J. and Olson, S. L., “Opposed Flow Flame Spread Over Thermally Thick Solid Fuels: Buoyant Flow Suppression, Stretch Rate Theory, and the Regressive Burning Regime,” Combustion and Flame, Vol. 219, pp. 57-69 (2020).
Chu, Y. Y. and Wichman, I. S., “Opposed Flow Flame Spread over Degrading Combustible Solids,” Combustion Science and Technology, Vol 191 (10), pp. 1843-1865 (2019).
Miklavcic, M. and Wichman, I. S., “Oscillatory Burner-Attached Diffusion Flame in a Viscous Vortex,” Combustion Science and Technology, Vol. 190(12), pp. 1-15 (2018).
Hossain, S., Wichman, I. S., Sidebotham, G. W., Olson, S. L. and Miller, F. J., “Influence of Gap Height and Flow Field on Global Stoichiometry and Heat Losses during Opposed Flow Flame Spread over Thin Fuels in Simulated Microgravity,” Combustion and Flame, Vol. 193, pp. 133-144 (2018).
Eksi, M., Rowe, D. B., Wichman, I. S. and Andresen, J. A., “Effect of Substrate Depth, Vegetation Type and Season n Green Roof Thermal Properties,” Energy and Buildings, Vol. 145, pp. 174-187 (2017). [Contents lists available at Science Direct Energy and Buildings journal homepage:
Gholamisheeri, M., Wichman, I. S. and Toulson, E. “A Study of the Turbulent Jet Flow Field in a Methane Fueled Turbulent Jet Ignition (TJI) System,” Combustion and Flame, Vol. 183, pp. 194-206 (2017). [Contents lists available at Science Direct Combustion and Flame journal homepage:].
Miklavcic, M. and Wichman, I. S., “Theoretical and Numerical Analysis of Oscillating Diffusion Flames,” Combustion and Flame, Vol. 173, pp. 99-105 (2016).
Gholamisheeri, M, Thelen, B. C., Gentz, G. R., Wichman, I. S. and Toulson, E., “Rapid Compression Machine Study of a Premixed, Variable Inlet Density and Flow Rate, Confined Turbulent Jet,” Combustion and Flame, Vol. 169, pp. 321-332 (2016).
Wichman, I. S., Olson, S. L., Miller, F. J. and Haraiharan, A., “Fire in Microgravity,” American Scientist (cover article), pp. 44 -52, January/February (2016).
Najim, Y. M., Mueller, N. and Wichman, I. S., “On Premixed Flame Propagation in a Curved Constant Volume Channel,” Combustion and Flame, Vol. 162, pp. 3980 - 3990 (2015). Online:
Hariharan, A. and Wichman, I. S., “Structure and Propagation of Premixed Flames in a Closed Combustion Chamber with Multiple Ignition Sources,” Combustion Science and Technology, Vol. 187, pp. 1562 – 1583 (2015). DOI: 10.1080/00102202.2015.1050554
Hariharan, A. and Wichman, I. S., “Premixed Flame Propagation and Morphology in a Constant Volume Combustion Chamber,” Combustion Science and Technology Vol. 186, pp. 1025 – 1040 DOI: 10.1080/00102202.2014.897340 (2014).
Kiran, R., Wichman, I. S. and Mueller, N. “On Combustion in a Closed Rectangular Channel with Initial Vorticity,” Combustion Theory and Modelling Vol. 18, pp. 277-294, DOI: 10.1080/13647830.2014.894643 (2014).
Primary Department