Richard Axelbaum

Stifel & Quinette Jens Professor of Environmental Engineering Science

View all WashU Experts


Axelbaum studies combustion phenomena, ranging from oxy-coal combustion to flame synthesis of nanotubes. His studies of fossil fuel combustion focus on understanding the formation of pollutants, such as soot, in order to develop novel approaches to eliminating them. In response to global concerns over carbon dioxide emissions he has begun developing approaches to carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Axelbaum’s research has also yielded methods of synthesizing stable metal nanoparticles and single-walled carbon nanotubes in flames.His present efforts in synthesis are directed towards producing next-generation battery materials.

WashU in the News


Flame design in space may lead to soot-free fire

Flame design in space may lead to soot-free fire

Astronauts currently aboard the International Space Station have begun an experiment that will allow them to ignite a flame and observe and study its properties. If the experiments — directed by a McKelvey School of Engineering faculty member — show what researchers expect they will, they could lead to a new, fundamental understanding of the properties of combustion.

Idea of 100 percent renewable energy isn’t feasible

Since the industrial revolution, coal, oil and natural gas have driven unprecedented growth in life span, population, income, education and quality of life. They have done so by providing us with energy 24/7/365, and the International Energy Agency projects that fossil fuels will account for a whopping 77 percent of our energy use in 2040.