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.
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.
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.
An experiment designed by an engineering team at Washington University in St. Louis soon will be performed in space. The experiment, called Flame Design, was on board a SpaceX Dragon rocket that launched into orbit June 3.
As the EPA takes next steps to replace the Clean Power Plan, an engineer at Washington University in St. Louis who studies fossil fuel combustion says this week’s move will make it difficult for power providers to plan for the future.
Carbon dioxide, which enters the atmosphere through the burning of coal and other fossil fuels, is a significant contributor to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Last year, President Barack Obama proposed a sweeping climate action plan to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Washington University in St. Louis, a leader in advanced coal research and technology, will be contributing to the president’s plan with research funded by a $3.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.