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Scientists Burst onto Influential List for Combustion Research
Date:7/25/2014

cars and trucks. These engine simulation codes can be used to optimize engine design to increase efficiency and reduce pollutant emissions. Pitz said what interests them the most is enabling the simulation of advanced combustion engines being considered for future vehicles, because these engines offer prospects of gains in efficiency and reductions in emissions.

"It is gratifying for both Charlie and me to be recognized for work that has been the focus of our careers," Pitz said.

Charles Westbrook

Westbrook is LLNL's combustion guru - a pioneer in the combustion field for more than 35 years. While he officially retired from the Laboratory in 2005 (after 41 years of service), he can still be found at the Lab a few days a week working on chemical kinetic modeling codes, the backbone of combustion.

He realized early on his career that the same codes he was working on to study the dynamics of weapons also could be applied to combustion chemistry. By grasping this, Westbrook was on his way to becoming the combustion leader at the Lab, in the auto industry and worldwide.

"One factor for our high publication rate is that we build chemistry models that can be used to interpret experiments and help design internal combustion engines for a rather wide variety of fuels, from gasoline to diesel fuel to ethanol to biodiesel fuel," Westbrook said. "The real key is that, along with the papers describing those models, we put the actual model software, called a chemical kinetic reaction mechanism, onto the LLNL open website, and this has turned out to attract an enormous number of other researchers who want to use our reaction mechanisms in their own work."

Westbrook has won many awards for his research, including fellow of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the Combustion Institute's 2008 Bernard Lewis Gold Medal, the American Chemical Society's Thomas Midgley Award, SAE's Horning
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