Clemson University assistant professor of mechanical engineering Lin Ma has been awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER Award to study turbulence-chemistry interactions using advanced laser imaging techniques. The $400,000 grant will fund the project, which aims to understand the complicated physics of turbulent combustion (the mode of combustion in many practical energy-generating devices), which will contribute to the solution of pressing global issues such as energy security and environmental sustainability. “The complexity of chemical reactions in turbulent flows represents a longstanding scientific problem with significant practical applications, most notably, the burning of fossil fuels with maximum efficiency and minimum pollution,” said Ma. “It is a challenging problem in that neither turbulence nor chemistry is completely understood, yet their interactions cover an incredibly wide spectrum of real-world devices. I believe the research proposed will result in effective tools to resolve such interactions to a new level, and the insights we obtain will help improve these devices.” The devices can range from the simple, such as barbecue grills, to the complicated, such as industry boilers, power plants and aircraft engines, he said. Ma, who joined Clemson in 2006, uses advanced laser diagnostics extensively in his research to address both scientific and industrial challenges. He received a master’s degree and PhD from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree from Tsinghua University in Beijing.