The Department of Mechanical Engineering has active research programs addressing critical global environmental problems, including climate change, air quality, and sustainable development.  This research seeks to not only improve scientific understanding of these problems but also to find solutions.  Examples of recent projects include mechanistic studies of air pollutant formation from biofuel combustion, development of new ignition strategies to reduce air pollutant emissions from natural gas engines, design and deployment of advanced cookstoves, quantifying the atmospheric evolution of fine particle emissions from motor vehicles, improving efficiency and reducing emissions from two-stroke engines used in auto-rickshaws, and quantifying methane leakage and climate consequence from nation’s natural gas system.  Environmental problems are inherently multi-disciplinary; therefore projects commonly involve teams of faculty, researchers, and students from multiple departments including Mechanical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Atmospheric Science, Chemistry, and Public Health.

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Professor Volckens Researches Cook Stove Pollution with $2.8M Grant
Professor Volckens will study the emissions and health effects of air pollution from cook stoves. This research will take place in a human exposure facility that was built by a mechanical engineering senior design team over the course of two semesters.

Laser Sensors for the Environment
Improved understanding of atmospheric chemistry, climate change, and other areas of atmospheric science relies critically on advanced measurement capabilities. Professor Yalin’s research group has several research projects focused on the development and application of laser sensors for environmental applications.