Combustion at a crossroads: Status and prospects

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In this paper, the state of combustion is evaluated and its prospect as a vibrant branch of science is assessed. It is first demonstrated that much progress has been made on the unifying concepts in the theoretical foundation of some elemental combustion phenomena, primarily those involving laminar flames, and that investigations are being conducted through the strong interplay between theory, experiment, and computation, and between physical and chemical interpretations. It is then noted that, being aided by the rapid advance in computational capability, combustion has entered the era of quantitative predictability, especially in the description of chemical kinetics. The needs for comprehensiveness of detailed reaction mechanisms and methodologies for facilitated computation are emphasized, and several facilitating strategies are presented. The essential role of combustion as a major technology driver and in emerging scientific disciplines is then discussed, and the importance of improving the efficiency of the research enterprise and strengthening the education program is emphasized. It is concluded that combustion has much to offer in terms of technological relevance and intellectual challenge, and as such will remain as a robust scientific discipline for years to come.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalProceedings of the Combustion Institute
Volume31 I
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2007
Event31st International Symposium on Combustion - Heidelberg, Germany
Duration: Aug 5 2006Aug 11 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


  • Bio-nano-info
  • Canonical formulation
  • Combustion
  • Extreme combustion
  • Laminar flames
  • Quantitative prediction
  • Reaction mechanisms
  • Reduced mechanisms
  • Research infrastructure
  • Technology drivers


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