Hydrothermal Flames

Research in the Energy Lab targets on supercritical water applications for energy and environmental applications. The tuning of thermo-physical properties with temperature and pressure makes supercritical water an ideal  solvent for many chemical processes. Water behaves as a polar solvent until it is pressurized and heated beyond its critical point (374ºC and 22.1 MPa) which enhances its non-polar solvent properties. The oxidation of organics in supercritical water has been found to be an efficient way to degrade the complex organics.

The flexibility of supercritical water to dissolve organic components and permanent gases (O2, N2 and CO2) makes it as an ideal green solvent for organic waste remediation. Flames in supercritical water are often referred as hydrothermal flames. The Energy Lab has been working in close collaboration with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on the mobile supercritical water oxidation flame set-up for space-related applications. The set-up has been initially developed by NASA at the Glenn Research Center in Ohio, USA to understand the axial and radial temperature profiles on ground level and in zero gravity environments.

Currently at Lassonde School of Engineering, the mobile supercritical water oxidation flame set-up is being investigated to study the impact of various parameters on the generation of flames with organic solvents. The findings are expected to be extended to zero gravity tests for implementation in space stations.