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Peng Zhao

Peng Zhao

Peng Zhao

Associate Professor


Department of Mechanical, Aerospace & Biomedical Engineering
411 B. H. Goethert Parkway
Tullahoma, TN 37388-9700

Office: 931-393-7261


  • PhD. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Princeton University, 2015
  • BS in Thermal Science and Energy Engineering, University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), 2009

Professional Experience

  • Associate Professor, Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering, UT Space Institute, Feb 2021 – present
  • Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Oakland University, Aug 2015 – Jan 2021

Research Interest

  • Combustion, transport phenomena, and thermal-fluid science
  • Alternative fuels and chemical kinetics
  • Combustion engines, propulsion, and advanced energy systems
  • Numerical simulation, machine learning and computational diagnostics
  • Thermal management and thermal runaway of lithium-ion batteries


Thermodynamics/Fluid mechanics/Energy System Analysis and Design/Combustion

Honors and Awards

  • Faculty Award for Outstanding Research, Oakland University, 2019.
  • Bernard Lewis Fellowship, the International Combustion Institute, 2018
  • Faculty Fellowship Award, Oakland University, 2016
  • Gordon Y.S. Wu Fellowship, Princeton University, 2009-2014
  • Guo Moruo Scholarship, USTC, 2009

Selected Recent Journal Publications

  • Yang, Z. Chen, A.J. Susa, R.K. Hanson, P. Zhao*, “Over-driven flame and its role in the negative-temperature dependence of iso-octane flame speed at elevated temperatures,” Combust. Flame, 223, 65-76, 2021.
  • Ge, A. Bakir, Y. Kang, S. Yadav, S. Parameswaran and P. Zhao*, “CFD optimization of the pre-chamber geometry for a gasoline spark ignition engine,” Front. Mech. Engr., accepted, 2021.
  • Chen, M. Tao, Q. Yang, H. Ge, P. Zhao*, “Two-stage autoignition and combustion mode evolution in boundary layer flows above a cold flat surface,” Proc. Combust. Inst., 2020, accepted.
  • Chen, P. Zhao, P. Dai, Z. Chen*, “On the prediction of hot spot induced ignition by the Livengood-Wu integral,” Proc. Combust. Inst., 2020, accepted.
  • Yang, P. Zhao*, “Minimum ignition energy and propagation dynamics of laminar premixed cool flames,” Proc. Combust. Inst., 2020, accepted.
  • Tao, Q. Yang, P. Lynch, P. Zhao*, “Auto-ignition and reaction front dynamics in mixtures with temperature and concentration stratification,” Special issue of Advancement of Low Temperature Engine Combustion Strategies in Frontiers in Mechanical Engineering, 6, 68, 2020.
  • Zhou, P. Zhao, T. Ye*, M. Zhu, “Direct numerical simulation of cool flame affected n-dodecane spray autoignition,” Fuel, 280, 118453, 2020.
  • Zhang, P. Zhao*, M. Xu, X. Wang, “Computational identification of the safety regime of Li-ion battery thermal runaway,” Applied Energy, 261, 114440, 2020.
  • Xu, R. Wang, P. Zhao, X. Wang, “Fast charging optimization for lithium-ion batteries based on programming algorithm and electrochemical-thermal-capacity fade coupled model,” Journal of Power Sources, 438, 227015, 2019.
  • Zhao*, S.H. Lam, “Toward computational singular perturbation without eigen-decomposition,” Combust. Flame, 209, 63-73, 2019.
  • Yang, P. Zhao*, H. Ge, “reactingFoam-SCI: an open source CFD platform for reacting flow simulation,” Computers and Fluids, 290, 114-127, 2019.
  • Tao, P. Zhao*, J. Szybist, P. Lynch, H. Ge, “Insights on autoignition in engines: combining engine thermodynamic trajectory and fuel ignition delay iso-contour,” Combust. Flame, 200, 207-218, 2019.
  • Tao, P. Lynch, P. Zhao*, “Kinetic modeling of ignition in miniature shock tube,” Proc. Combust. Inst., 37, 593-601, 2019.
  • Tao, H. Ge, Brad VanDerWege, P. Zhao*, “Fuel wall film effects on premixed flame propagation, quenching and emission,” Int. J. Engine Res, 21, 1055-1066, 2018.
  • Lin, P. Zhao, G. Mason, X. Zeng*, “Characterization of the IL/electrode interfacial relaxation processes under potential polarization for ionic liquid amperometric gas sensor method development,” ACS Sensors, 3, 1126-1134, 2018.
  • Tao, A. Laich, P. Lynch*, P. Zhao*, “On the interpretation and correlation of high temperature ignition delays in reactors with varying thermodynamic conditions,” Int. J. Chem. Kinet., 50, 410-424, 2018.
  • Tao, P. Zhao*, D. DelVescovo, H. Ge, “Manifestation of octane rating, fuel sensitivity, and composition effects for gasoline surrogates under advanced compression ignition conditions,” Combust. Flame, 192, 238-249, 2018.

Book Chapter

  1. Zhao (2018) Detailed Kinetics in Combustion Simulation: Manifestation, Model Reduction, and Computational Diagnostics. In: De S., Agarwal A., Chaudhuri S., Sen S. (eds) Modeling and Simulation of Turbulent Combustion. Energy, Environment, and Sustainability. Springer.

Research profiles:

Professional Activities

  • Member of SAE, ASME, ASEE and the Combustion Institute
  • Session chair of the 38th International Combustion Symposium, Jan 24-29, 2021
  • Guest editor of a special issue on Reactive Flows in Fluids, 2020
  • Technical committee, speaker, and host of Combustion Webinar (
  • Host of International Workshop Engine Combustion Network (ECN 7), April 2020
  • Guest editor of a special issue on Advancement of Low Temperature Engine Combustion Strategies in Frontiers in Mechanical Engineering, 2019-2020
  • Invited reviewer for DOE Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) Annual Merit Review (AMR), 2019
  • Panelist for NSF Program of Combustion and Fire Systems, 2018.
  • Session chair of the US CSSCI Technical Conference, Minneapolis, 2018.
  • Invited ad hoc reviewer for NSF Program of Combustion and Fire Systems, 2018.
  • Member of the Early Career and Diversity Development Committee of US Section of the Combustion Institute (2017 – present).
  • Session chair of the US ESSCI Technical Conference, Princeton University, 2016.
  • Outstanding reviewer award by journals including Combustion and Flame, Fuel, Energy, Applied Thermal Engineering, Proceedings of the Combustion Institute, Chemical Engineering Journal, Applied Energy,
  • Invited reviewer for 400+ journal articles in Combustion and Flame, Proceedings of the Combustion Institute, Applied Energy, Fuel, Energy, Energy and Fuels, Physics of Fluids, International Journal of Engine Research, Applied Thermal Engineering, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Combustion Science of Technology, Journal of Energy Storage, Journal of Power Sources, Chemical Engineering Journal, Fire Safety Journal, etc.