In my classes there is consistent emphasis on the development of critical and quantitative thinking skills and written communication skills. The attention paid to detail is reflected in non-standard problem sets and test questions. 

    Good teaching involves rigor, precision and intellectual honesty, and the unrelenting application of consistently high standards analogous (but not identical) to the ideals of athletic contests. Much of what is wrong in today's educational system stems from a breakdown in one or more of these foundational principles. Higher education, like high-level athletics, or high-level anything, is not for everyone. Thus, education is also an elitist enterprise. This is hard to defend in an egalitarian and pluralistic society, but the principles of absolute democracy ("...we are all equals here...") can no better be expected to hold sway in a classroom than in a football locker room at halftime, or a boxing ring between rounds. On a certain level, education is a serious undertaking, and students must expect to be challenged: unable to meet that challenge, failure becomes an option. Failing students in my classes causes me no "moral dilemma" and is something I can do without compunction, though it is sad to think of the wasted time and finances. That being said, students who do their class work, ask questions, turn in their homeworks and do reasonably well on their tests can usually expect decent grades (3.0 or above). I cannot think of a single instance in my years of teaching that a student has done well without having met the preceding criteria. Having good, motivated, willing students in a classroom is a unique pleasure: without them teaching would be difficult indeed. For students like this education is not a serious undertaking, but a joy, and that makes all the difference.

     At MSU I have taught the following courses:

Undergraduate: Introduction to Combustion; Introduction to Thermodynamics; Fluid Mechanics I; Fluid Mechanics II; Aerodynamics; Introduction to Engineering Analysis (Mathematics).

Graduate: Combustion; Convection; Conduction; Radiation; Nonequilibrium Gas Dynamics; Micro Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer; Viscous Fluid Dynamics; Special Topics in Thermal Science; Engineering Analysis.


     My research is concerned principally with modeling. The goal has been to provide simplified descriptions of complicated phenomena such as flame spread over fuels, solid material decomposition and pyrolysis, moisture and gas movement in materials during combustion, diffusion flame attachment and lifting in combustors, ignition of flames in gases, soot radiation in diffusion flames, premixed flame quenching, diffusion flame quenching, triple flame theory, and microgravity flame spread and flame structure studies. Experiments have been performed on thermal property determination, composite material flame spread, flame spread over materials, flame instabilities and breakup. These experiments have been conducted primarily for empirical support of the modeling and theoretical effort. The experimentation has become a bigger proportion of my research in the past five or so years.

     The simplified models provide the following valuable insights and uses:

     Research must have strong academic and intellectual relevance, i.e., research tconducted at a university should eventually swim in the "pedagogical stream." The importance of elegance and clarity with which the subject is explored and uncovered is important, although engineering, as a quantifiable disciplne, cannot ignore comparisons with real-world results.

    Recent projects deal with diffusion flame instabilities in flame spread (a NASA project), ignition and spread of flames over non-ordinary bubble-forming surfaces (a NIST project), a combined plasma/combustion burner project, and various theoretical "small" projects I have undertaken either alone or with a few colleagues.

back to home page