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Prof Chris Lawn
MA PhD(Cantab) CEng FIChem.E FIMechE


Research Overview

With his background in industrial combustion research, Chris Lawn’s major research theme of the last few years has been the thermoacoustic excitation of flames. This relates to a fundamental problem with industrial gas turbines…the tendency of lean flames to generate strong vibrations of the turbine blades. The study has led to participation in a thermoacoustic engine project, in which the heat of a wood-burning stove is to be used to generate electricity through exciting strong acoustic waves inside a duct. A related topic, progressed at Sandia National Labs while on sabbatical, is the study of the mechanisms of flame propagation in turbulent flows of gaseous mixtures, particularly under unsteady conditions. Other projects concern the development of a novel design of vertical-axis tidal turbine, the control of supersonic jet noise, the propagation of meso-scale flames, the enhancement of heat transfer by acoustic waves, and the potential means of generating power from a fusion reactor.