High Pressure Combustion Lab

Dr. Richard Yetter, Director

104 Research Building East
University Park, PA 16802

Phone: (814) 863-6375

Email: ray8@psu.edu

Dr. Eric Boyer, Assistant Director

High Pressure Combustion Lab
University Park, PA 16802

Phone: (814) 863-2264

Email: jeb19@psu.edu

Former Graduate Students

Many dissertations/theses not linked to directly below are available for loan through Penn State University Libraries


Paige Nardozzo (M.S. 2016) "Diffusion Flame Studies of Solid Fuels with Nitrous Oxide"

Brendan McKnight (M.S. 2015) "Advanced Hybrid Rocket Motor Propulsion Unit For CubeSats"

Thomas Geeza (M.S. 2015) "Pulsed Combustion Spray Drying for the Removal of Total Dissolved Solids from Flowback and Produced Waters generated During the Hydraulic Fracturing Process"

Colin Cash (M.S. 2015) "Super-charged Pulsed Jet Combustor for Salt-water Separation in Remediating Hydro Fracturing Brines"

Derrick Armold (M.S. 2014) "Formulation and Characterization of Paraffin-based Solid Fuels Containing Swirl Inducing Grain Geometry And/or Energetic Additives"

Heath Martin (Ph.D. 2013) "Assessment of the Performance of Ablative Insulators under Realistic Solid Rocket Motor Operating Conditions"

Andrew Cortopassi (Ph.D. 2012) "Erosion of Carbon-Cloth Phenolic Nozzles in Rocket Motors with Aluminized Solid Propellant"

Garrett Lee (M.S. 2012) "Ignition and Combustion of Energetic Particles at Ultra-High Pressures and Heating Rates "

Jonathan Essel (Ph.D. 2012) "Processing Energetic Materials with Supercritical Fluid Precipitation Techniques"

Daniel Larson (M.S. 2012) "Formulation and Characterization of Paraffin-based Solid Fuels Containing Novel Additives for Use in Hybrid Rocket Motors"

Matt Sirignano (M.S. 2011) "Modification and Implementation of a Ballistic Compressor to Study Ignition and Combustion Energetic Particles at Ultra-high Pressures and Heating Rates"

Brian Evans (Ph.D. 2010) "Nozzle Erosion Characterization and Minimization for High-Pressure Rocket Motor Applications"

Heath Martin (M.S. 2010) "Erosion of High-Temperature Ablative Materials "

Chia-Yung Lin (M.S. 2010) "Important Findings and Observations of the Rocket Nozzle Erosion Processes and Theoretical/Numerical Simulations"

Ryan Houim (Ph.D. 2010) "Modeling the Influence of Shock Waves on the Combustion of Aluminum Droplets"

Matt Degges (M.S. 2010) "Influence of Steam on the Flammability Limits of Premixed Natural Gas/Oxygen/Steam Mixtures"

Alex Colletti (M.S. 2010) "Ignition Processes and Flame Spreading in a Granular Solid Propellant Bed"

Jonathan Essel (M.S. 2010) "Synthesis of Energetic Nano-Sized Particles by RESS Processes"


Eric Boyd (M.S. 2009) "Ignition and Combustion of Nickel Coated and Uncoated Aluminum Particles in Hot Post-Flame Gas Environment"

Ragini Acharya (Ph.D. 2008) "Modeling and Numerical Simulation of Interior Ballistic Processes in a 120mm Mortar System"

Patrick Kutzler (M.S. 2008) "Flammability Limits of a Premixed Gas with Steam Addition"

Jeffrey Moore (Ph.D. 2008) "Flame Spreading & Heat Transfer Processes in a Fin-Slot Rocket Motor "

Timothy Wawiernia (M.S. 2007) "Study of Flame Spreading and Combustion Phenomena of Layered Propellants"

Andrew Cortopassi (M.S. 2007) "Synthesis of Energetic Nano-Sized Particle by Rapid Expansion of a Supercritical Solution"

Eric Boyd (B.S Honors Thesis 2006) "Ignition and Combustion of Aluminum Flakes in a Hot Gas Region of a Multi-Diffusion Flat Flame Burner"

Kristin Clark (M.S. 2006) "Nano-Sized Particle Synthesis by Rapid Expansion of a Supercritical Solution"

Robert Wehrman (M.S. 2006) "Flame Spreading & Heat Transfer Processes in a Fin-Slot Rocket Motor "

Damian Tatum (M.S. 2005) "Modeling and Experimental Investigation of Highly Asymmetric Aluminum Particle Combustion"

Eric Boyer (Ph.D. 2005) "Combustion Characteristics and Flame Structure of Nitromethane Liquid Monopropellant"

Nicholas Favorito (M.S. 2005) "Development and Testing of a Nitrous Oxide Feed System for an Experimental Hybrid Rocket Motor"

Joseph Homitz (B.S. Honors Thesis 2004) "Concentration of a HAN-Based Liquid Monopropellant"

J. Keith Josten (M.S. 2004) "The Design, Development, and Operation of a Gelled Bipropellant Rocket Engine Test Facility"

Jonathan Luman (M.S. 2004) "Flammability Limits of a Premixed Gas with Steam Addition"

Peter Ferrara (M.S. 2004) "Gap Width Effect on Combustion Behavior of Two Opposing Propellant Surfaces"

Grant Risha (Ph.D. 2003) "Enhancement of Hybrid Rocket Combustion Performance Using Nano-Sized Energetic Particles"

Jeffrey Moore (M.S. 2003) "Flame Stability of Hydrocarbon/Oxygen Burner"

Yi-Ping Chang (Ph.D. 2002) "Combustion Behavior of HAN-Based Liquid Propellants"

Caroline Bourdin (M.S. Internship 2002) "Experimental Studies of the Combustion Behavior of Various Propellants"

Surajit Kumar (M.S. 2001) "Numerical Simulation of Dynamic Burning Characteristics of JA2 Propellant Using Experimentally Determined Zel'dovich Map"

Gregory Young (M.S. 2001) "Characterization of Combustion and Propulsive Behavior of Difluoroamino Based Solid Propellants"

John Mordosky (M.S. 2001) "Spray Combustion RP-1 Gel Propellants Containing Nano-Sized Aluminum Particles (Alex® Powders) in Rocket Engine Conditions"

Matthew Mench (Ph.D. 2000) "Flame Spreading and Violent Energy Release (VER) Process of Aluminum Tubing in Liquid and Gaseous Oxygen Environments"

Abdullah Ulas (Ph.D. 2000) "Ignition and Combustion of Boron Particles in Fluorine-Containing Environments"

George Harting (Ph.D. 2000) "Pyrolysis and Combustion of HTPB, GAP, and OXSOL for Hybrid Rocket Motor Applications"


Johnathan DeSena (B.S. Honors Thesis 1998) "Investigation into Stored Energy of Ultra-Fine Aluminum Powder Produced by Electro-Explosion"

John Mordosky (B.S. Honors Thesis 1998) "Characterization of Burning Behavior of Solid Propellants for Hybrid Rocket Motor Application, (Honored NSF Student)"

Stephen Jennings (M.S. 1997) "Peculiar Combustion Characteristics of XM46 Liquid Propellant"

Grant Risha (M.S. 1997) "Flame Propagation Processes in a Simulated Combustor for Heated-Gas Airbag Inflators"

Martin Chiaverini (Ph.D. 1997) "Regression Rate and Pyrolysis Behavior of HTPB-Based Solid Fuels in a Hybrid Rocket Motor"

Benjamin Schrader (Honors Research 1997) "Ignition and Combustion Studies of Boron and Aluminum Particles (Honored NSF Student)"

Nick Cordaro (Honors Research 1997) "Flame Spreading Behavior Over Thin Aluminum Sheets in LOX/GOX Environments (Honored NSF Student)"

Heather Parsons (B.S. Honors Thesis 1997) "Flame-Spreading Process over Aluminum Foil in an Oxygen-Rich Environment with Application to Brazed Aluminum Heat Exchangers"

David Johnson (M.S. 1997) "Flame Spreading Phenomena Over Thin Aluminum Sheets in an Oxygen-Rich Environment"

Erick Jones (M.S. 1996) "Design and Development of a Strand Burner for Characterization of Liquid Propellant Burning Behavior"

Matthew Mench (M.S. 1996) "An Experimental Study of the Burning Process of Magnesium/Polytetrafluoroethylene/Magnesium (Mg/PTFE/Mg) Film"

Abdullah Ulas (M.S. 1996) "Determination of Temperature and Species Concentration Profiles of Solid Propellant Flames using UV/Visible Absorption Spectrometry"

George Harting (M.S. 1995) "Design and Testing of a Two-Dimensional Hybrid Slab Motor"

Todd Freyman (M.S. 1995) "Development and Application of a UV-Visible Absorption Spectroscopy System for the Study of Solid Propellants"

Yang-Sheng Tzeng (B.S. Honors Thesis 1995) "Simulation of Bubble Dynamics in the Two-Phase Reaction Zone of Burning RDX Surface"

Charles Kopicz (M.S. 1995) "Combustion Behavior and Thermochemical Properties of JA2 Propellant"

Todd Watson (M.S. 1995) "Combustion Characteristics of Layered and Homogeneous Gun Propellants"

S.J. Wilson (M.S. 1995) "The Surface Structure and Composition of the Foam Layers Recovered from RDX Based Materials after Laser Deradiation"

C.L. Yeh (Ph.D. 1995) "Ignition and Combustion of Boron Particles"

Steve Ritchie (Ph.D. 1994) "The Thermal Ignition Behavior of Nitramine-Based Solid Propellants"

Dan Cohen (M.S. 1994) "Solid Propellant Regression Measurements Using Imbedded Chemical Tracers AND Design of Test Program and Facilities for Investigation of the Erosive Burning and Flame Spreading Characteristics of the Solid Propellant Used in Advanced Solid Rocket Motors (ASRM)"

Tzung-Huei Huang (Ph.D. 1994) "Partially Confined Hot Fragment Conductive Ignition Study of Nitramine-Based Propellants"

Kevin Desmarais (Honors Research 1994) "In Situ Observation of the Surface Burning Phenomena of RDX and RDX Composites XM39 and M43 (Honored NSF Student)"

Gerardo Hernandez (Honors Research 1994) "Measurement of Temperatures and OH Concentrations of Solid Propellant Flames Using Absorption Spectroscopy (Honored NSF Student)"

Paul Alaksin (B.S. Honors Thesis 1994) "Flame Spreading in Fin-Slotted Propellant Grains"

Jeff Brown (M.S. 1994) "Combustion of Composite Disk Propellants Under Highly Transient Conditions"

I-Te Huang (Ph.D. 1993) "Non-Intrusive Combustion Diagnostics of Premixed Hydrocarbon Flames Using FT-IR Spectrometry"

An-Shik Yang (Ph.D. 1993) "Combustion Of LOX With H2(g) Under Subcritical And Supercritical Conditions"

Richard Field (Ph.D. 1993) "Observations of Surface Structure and Regression Behavior of Solid Propellant Strands Burning under Narrow Gap Conditions"

Barry Fetherolf (Ph.D. 1993) "The Physical And Chemical Processes Governing CO2 Laser-Induced Pyrolysis And Combustion Of The Solid Propellants RDX, ADN, XM39, and M43"

Roger Woodward (Ph.D. 1993) "Primary Atomization of Liquid Jets Issuing from Rocket Engine Coaxial Injectors"

Robert Burch (Ph.D. 1993) "Modelling Of Heat Transfer Enhancement Strategies In An Expander Cycle Engine"

Robert Kokal (M.S. 1993) "Flame Spreading in the Fin-Slot Section of Rocket Motors"

Seng-Rung Wu (Ph.D. 1992) "Combustion-Induced Crack/Debond Propagation In Solid Propellants"

Yeu-Cherng Lu (Ph.D. 1992) "Combustion-Induced Crack Propagation Process In A Solid-Propellant Crack Cavity"

Wen-Yao Li (M.S. 1992) "Combustion behavior and Thermochemical Properties Of RDX-Based Solid Propellants "

Michael Kline (M.S. 1992) "Like-On-Like Rocket Engine Injector Spray Characterization Study, Using A Laser Sheet Photographic Technique"

Chun-Liang Yeh (M.S. 1991) "Measurement Of Ignition And Surface Temperatures Of Boron"

Tateh Wu (M.S. 1991) "Numerical Simulation Of Gas-Dynamic And Heat-Transfer Processes In Two-Stage, Very High-Pressure Gas Compressors"

C.H. Wang (M.S. 1991) "Flame Spreading Measurement in Granular Black Powder Beds"

Taras Jarymowycz (Ph.D. 1991) "Ignition and Combustion Of Solid Fuels Under High-Velocity Crossflows"

Randy Salizzoni (M.S. 1991) "Combustion of VHBR Propellants"

Kristen Pace (M.S. 1991) "Effect Of Magnesium-Coated Boron Particles On Burning Characteristics Of Solid Fuels In High-Speed Crossflows"

Jun-Lon Chen (Ph.D. 1990) "A Theoretical and Experimental Study of the Interior Ballistic Processes of an Electrothermal Gun"

Pete Liiva (M.S. 1990) "Chemical Species Measurements of Combustion Products Pyrolyzed by CO2 Laser"

Barry Fetherolf (M.S. 1990) "Pyrolysis and Ignition of Solid Fuels and Solid Propellants Under Radiative Heating By A High-Power CO2 Laser"

C.L. Chen (M.S. 1990) "Flow Characteristics of Very High-Pressure Gas Compressors"

Yeu-Pin Yeh (Ph.D. 1990) "Studies Of The Two-Phase Plume Jet And Wall Erosion In A Vertical Launching System"

Juan de Dios Rivera (Ph.D. 1990) "High Pressure Combustion Behavior Of Programmed Splitting Stick Propellants"

Timothy Snyder (M.S. 1990) "Solid Fuel Ignition And Combustion Characteristics Under High-Speed Crossflows"

Ken Garner (M.S. 1990) "Dense Spray Mechanisms"


Taras Jarymowycz (M.S. 1989) "Combustion of Solid Fuel in Supersonic Streams of Ramjet Combustor"

Paul Conroy (M.S. 1989) "Jet Impingement and Ablative Material Erosion Studies for a Vertical Launching System"

Eric Cummings (B.S. Honors Thesis 1989) "Development of a Mechanical Model of the Degradation and Failure of Nonlinear-Viscoelastic Filled Elastomers"

Y.C. Lu (M.S. 1989) "A Theoretical Model for Simulating Crack/Debond Combustion Anomaly in Solid Propellant Rocket Motors"

C.L. Chuang (Ph.D. 1989) "Experimental Study of Mixing and Combustion Processes in a Solid-Propellant Ducted Rocket Motor"

Steve Ritchie (M.S. 1988) "Combustion and Ignition Behavior of LOVA Propellants"

D.L. Cherng (Ph.D. 1988) "Turbulent Reacting Flows in Solid-Propellant Ducted Rocket Combustors"

D.M. Chen (Ph.D. 1988) "Pyrolysis, Ignition and Combustion of Solid Fuels for Ramjet Applications"

Jesse Smedley (M.S. 1988) "Shock-Induced Combustion and Fracture in Flawed Solid Propellants"

Timothy Snyder (B.S. Honors Thesis 1988) "Pyrolysis and Ignition of Solid Fuels for Ramjet Applications"

Barry Fetherolf (B.S. Honors Thesis 1988) "The Pyrolysis and Ignition of Mg/PTFE Propellants under Radiative Heating by a High-Power Co2 Laser (1st place, Thesis Competition)"

Michael DiRosa (M.S. 1988) "Air Supply and Storage Facility Design and Description"

Jong Uck Kim (Ph.D. 1988) "Laser Ignition Of Nitramine Composite Propellants"

Jeffery Nimis (M.S. 1987) "A Method for Obtaining Empirical Correlations for Predicting Crack Propagation in a Burning Solid Propellant Grain "

James Char (Ph.D. 1987) "A Study of Flame Spreading, Combustion, and Fracture of Single-Perforated Stick Propellants"

W.H. Hsieh (Ph.D. 1987) "Study of Strand Burning and Erosive Burning of Nosol-363 Stick Propellants"

K.C. Hsieh (Ph.D. 1987) "Combustion of Unslotted Stick Propellant Bundles in a Simulated Gun Environment"

Paul Beelitz (M.S. 1986) "A Preliminary CO2 Laser Ignition Study of the AP/HTPB Composite Solid Propellant"

Mark Grubelich (M.S. 1986) "Dimensionless Parameters Governing the Crack Propagation and Branching Process in Burning Solid Propellants"

John Moreci (M.S. 1986) "Different Modes of Crack Propagation in Burning Solid Propellants"

Choong Kim (M.S. 1985) "Ignition of Nitramine Propellants by Shock Heating"

Tayfun Avni (M.S. 1985) "Sublimation of Naphalene in Convective Streams"

Chan Mun Kim (M.S. 1985) "Survey for the characterization of Defects in Porous Media"

John Mantzaras (M.S. 1985) "Different Modes of Crack Propagation and Branching in Burning Solid Propellants"

Mahesh Athavale (M.S. 1985) "Interaction of Flame-Spreading, Combustion, & Fracture of Single-Perforated Stick Propellants under Dynamic Conditions"

Dale Snyder (M.S. 1985) "The Recession of Graphitic Nozzles under Rocket Motors operating conditions"

Francis Koo (M.S. 1985) "Ignition of Nitramine Propellants by Rapid Pressurization"

Santosh Keswani (Ph.D. 1984) "Recession of Graphite Nozzles in Rocket Motors"

Linda Jones (M.S. 1984) "3D Carbon-Carbon Composite Characterization: A Prediction of C/C Nozzle Recession Under Rocket Motor Conditions"

W.H. Hsieh (M.S. 1984) "Erosive Burning of Stick Propellants Ignition of RDX Propellants"

Donald McClure (Ph.D. 1984) "Measurements of Gas Temperature and Convective Heat Flux in a Reacting Granular Propellant Bed"

John Campbell (M.S. 1983) "Effect of Surface Roughness on Carbon/Carbon Recession"

Esber Andiroglu (M.S. 1983) "CO2 Laser-Induced Heterogeneous Reaction of Graphite with Various Gases"

John Siefert (M.S. 1983) "Crack Propagation in Burning Solid Propellants"

John Wills (M.S. 1982) "Solid Propellant Ignition Under Rapid Pressurization"

Hemant Kamath (M.S. 1982) "Combustion of Highly Aluminized Solid Propellants"

Rajiv Tiwary (M.S. 1981) "Combustion of Pulverized Coal Particles"

Derek Bergener (B.S. Honors Thesis 1981) "Strand Burner Modifications"

Rohit Arora (M.S. 1981) "Erosive Burning of Solid Propellants in Turbulent Shear Flows"

Stephen Kovacic (M.S. 1980) "Improved Prediction Of The Flame Spreading Process By Incorporating Tip Ignition & Turbulent Diffusion Effects Into The Solid Propellant Crack Combustion Model"

Vigor Yang (M.S. 1980) "Compaction of Particles in Granular Propellant Beds by Mechanical and Gas Dynamic Loadings"

Mridul Kumar (Ph.D. 1980) "A Study of Flame Spreading and Combustion Processes in Solid Propellant Cracks"

Joseph Thomas (B.S. Honors Thesis 1980) "Experimental Study of Compaction Processes in Granular Propellant Beds"

Prior to 1979

Barry Moore (M.S. 1979) "Characterization of Various Primers and Determination of Intragranular Stress Within a Compacting Granular Bed"

D.Y. Chen (M.S. 1979) "Transient Mobile Granular Bed Combustion of Solid Propellants with Moving Boundary"

Mohan Razdan (Ph.D. 1979) "Erosive Burning Study of Composite Solid Propellants by the Reacting Turbulent Boundary-Layer Approach"

Glen Coates (M.S. 1977) "Dynamic Burning Assessment in the Combustion of Mobile Granular Propellants under Intense Forced Convection"

Thomas Davis (M.S. 1977) "Experimental Study of Transient Combustion Processes in Granular Propellant Beds"

Arthur Chen (M.S. 1976) "Theoretical Modeling and Numerical Solution of Transient Flame-Spreading in Solid-Propellant Cracks"

Joseph Koo (M.S. 1975) "Theoretical Modeling and Numerical Solution of Transient Combustion Processes in Mobile Granular Propellant Beds"

Francis Thomson (M.S. 1974) "Investigation of a Jet-Induced Mixing Heat Transfer Process"