Mechanical engineering department to receive grant for laser lab
Posted: 07/03/2003
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The University of Texas-Pan American Department of Mechanical Engineering will receive a $163,000 grant from the United States Department of Defense for a state-of-the art Laser Diagnostics Laboratory for combustion research and education.

"The state-of-the-art diagnostic laser system will substantially enhance our existing capabilities and provide advanced combustion research capacity comparable to that available at top research institutions," said Dr. Ala Qubbaj, assistant professor of mechanical engineering. "This will make us more competitive for research funding from federal agencies, and have a strong impact on our students' education and research training."

The total cost for the project is $200,000. The remaining funds will be provided by AT&T Corporation.

"I would like to credit Dr. (Edwin) LeMaster, and Dr. (Hashim) Mahdi for securing the matching funds," Qubbaj said.

The U.S. Department of Defense announced plans to award grants totaling $6.3 million to 25 institutions. The grants will enhance programs and capabilities at these institutions in scientific disciplines critical to national security.

The laser system will help students assess essential information of the combustion process such as velocity fields, flow visualization, pollution formation, fuel mixing, radical distribution and flame visualization.

According to Qubbaj, the system will outline the interaction between the flow field and the chemical formation of pollutants. This will help attain a design to maximize the performance and minimize the formation of pollutants from combustion systems such as diesel engines, utility boiler furnaces, residential gas appliances, gas turbines and aircraft jet engines.

The grant was awarded to the University as a result of merit competition conducted for the Office of Defense Research and Engineering by the Army Research Office, the Office of Naval Research and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.