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Fuel combustion and optical diagnostics

Optimising combustion with optical diagnostic techniques

  optics_PBCImproved fuel combustion is fundamental to low-carbon technologies across, domestic, industrial and transport sectors. The University of Warwick is home to pioneering combustion diagnostics research facilities and expertise which are fundamental to achieving more energy efficient and clean combustion of fuels.

The new Birmingham Science City cutting edge diagnostics capabilities will place the West Midlands region at the forefront of research into the optimization of combustion processes and system designs for existing and new fuels. The capability is focused on evaluating the combustion properties of different fuels, including biofuels, and optimising combustion processes for these fuels.  

The scope for applications is broad and includes:  

  • Household burners
  • Large scale local heating
  • Power stations
  • Steel furnaces
  • Internal combustion engines
  • Gas turbine engines

 The-state-of-the-art facilities include:  

  • A borescopic engine investigation system that allows the investigation of an internal combustion engine using an endoscope approach.
  • Various measurement techniques such as:

o    Laser fluoresce and direct light emission.

o    A phase sensitive holographic camera which can create a remotely measured three dimensional temperature map in different thermal and combustion environments.

  • A passive optical emission tomographic system with 30/40 photomultipliers which can take optical measurements of combustion processes inside engines.

These optical diagnostic facilities and combustion research work at the University of Warwick complement the work of other Birmingham Science City facilities at the University of Birmingham in the fields of materials for high temperature diagnostic probes and burner construction and on the efficient combustion of alternative fuels in engines.  

This research facility is led by Professor Peter Bryanston-Cross, Head of the Optical Engineering Laboratory at the University of Warwick. His expertise is wide-ranging including:

  • image processing for diffraction image recognition;
  • imaging of sub-micron particles;
  • holographic storage of sub-micron three dimensional particle distributions;
  • measurement of surface flatness and deflection to a precision of 10nm;
  • automatic analysis of photoelastic data; image processing X-ray diffraction images;
  • sub millimetre hole inspection using monomode fibre optics; and
  • use of embedded electronic systems for laser control.

Already working with companies such as QuinetiQ and Rolls Royce, the research group is keen to develop new partnerships, particularly with local businesses from the West Midlands region.

For further information, including proposals for collaboration or access to the facilities: 

Professor Bryanston-Cross School of Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Birmingham, CV4 7AL. Email:  Tel: +44 (0) 24 7652 3131 or

Mike Ahearne, Business Engagement Manager for the Birmingham Science City Energy Efficiency & Demand project. Email: Mobile tel: +44 (0)7824 541173





These facilities are based at the University of Warwick

Download the above information in brochure format here (PDF Document) 

For a more detailed description of the equipment/facility, click here (PDF Document)

Combustion - optical diagnositics