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Professor Jennifer Wen

Professor Jennifer Wen

Professor Jennifer Wen

Professor of Engineering 
Head of Warwick FIRE

Jennifer dot Wen at warwick dot ac dot uk
+44 (0) 24 7657 3365



Professor Jennifer Wen joined the School of Engineering at the University of Warwick in May 2013. She established and currently leads Warwick FIRE, a multidisciplinary research laboratory for both fundamental and applied research in fire, explosions and other safety related reactive and non-reactive flows. Professor Wen holds a BSc from Shanghai Jiaotong University and a PhD from University of London. She has previously held positions at Computational Dynamics Limited (founding vendor of STAR-CCM), British Gas plc, South Bank University and Kingston University London, where she was full professor since 2000 and Head of Research for Engineering.

Jennifer is a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. She is Vice-Chairman of the International Association for Fire Safety Science (IAFSS) and Chair of IAFSS Working Group “Research and Education”

Research Interests

Professor Wen’s research focuses on numerical studies of safety related reactive and non- reactive flows. Her team specializes in the development of physics-based sub-models and modelling approaches to capture the underlying physics of complex safety problems. Most of the development has been conducted within the frame of open source computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code OpenFOAM® to facilitate model validation and application.

Professor Wen has applied fundamental combustion science to study a wide range of fire scenarios including liquid pool and gas burner fires, single and multi-phase jet fires, flame spread, façade fires and fires in enclosures. In such studies, her team developed physics based sub-models for combustion, radiative heat transfer and soot. More recently, her team is developing predictive tools for lithium ion battery fires.

An important theme of Professor Wen’s research is modelling safety related reactive flows relevant to the petrochemical industry for which she has received support from several international energy companies. Her research has encompassed fundamental characteristics of flame acceleration (FA) and deflagration to detonation transition (DDT), flame/detonation arresters, Micromist for explosion mitigation and confined/semi-confined gas explosions.

Professor Wen collaborate extensively with experimentalists and modelers across the world in both academia and industry. The fire models her team developed have been used by the industrial sponsor to help reduce the number of large-scale fire tests in developing fire protection measures and other academics in their research. The predictive tool her team developed for turbulent deflagrations incorporating the effect of obstacles has been used by collaborators in industry to conduct safety assessment of their facilities. An engineering model for predicting the peak overpressure in vented explosions has been accepted for inclusion in the relevant European Standard and has already been used by several companies in Europe and UK.

Additional details about Professor Wen’s research and snapshots of the results are available at Warwick FIRE.

Strategic Themes

Hydrogen energy applications

Detailed analysis about safety issues related to hydrogen energy applications in transport systems and the built environment, working closely with international energy companies. This aspect of work covers fire and explosions as well as indoor dispersion from small hydrogen leaks and the atmospheric dispersion from large scale spill of cryogenic liquid hydrogen. Within the frame of OpenFOAM, Jennifer’s team has developed and validated an in-house HyFOAM solver for predicting:

  • hydrogen jet fires
  • spontaneous ignition in pressurised hydrogen release
  • cryogenic hydrogen jets
  • atmospheric dispersion following large scale spill of cryogenic liquid hydrogen
  • FA and DDT in premixed hydrogen flames incorporating the effect of turbulence and mixture inhomogeneity
  • the response of compressed hydrogen cylinders under fire attack incorporating the pressurized hydrogen, liner, composite laminate, and fire
  • hydrogen explosions (including vented explosions) incorporating the effects of obstacles

Lithium ion batteries for transport and energy storage

Analytical, experimental, and numerical studies of thermal runaway (TR) in lithium ion batteries (LIB) with particular focus on the mechanisms of TR and its propagation in LIB clusters and modules. An electrothermal model has been developed to capture the evolution from normal operation to abuse condition and TR as an in-house solver within the frame of OpenFOAM. An efficient thermal abuse model has also been developed to analyse the effect of single cell TR on the neighbouring cells. The work is inherently collaborative involving extensive collaboration with industry and academics internationally.

Liquified natural gas

The main hazard of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is the flammable vapour which can extend to kilometres as a greenhouse gas; or be ignited resulting in fire and explosions. Within the frame of OpenFOAM, Jennifer’s team has developed LNGFOAM for predicting:

  • pool spread, evaporation and dispersion following LNG spill on land and water
  • LNG rollover
  • flashing of cryogenic LNG jets
  • vapour cloud formation from LNG/other liquid fuel cascade
  • LNG pool fires incorporating the dynamic prediction of mass burning rates.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS)

CCS technology involves the transport of compressed gas/liquid/dense phase carbon dioxide (CO2) via pipelines and process systems. Research has been conducted with industrial support on the decompression characteristics of rich gas and liquid/dense phase CO2 following pipeline rupture to help determining the toughness required to arrest a running ductile fracture in a pipeline. Professor Wen’s team developed and validated CFD based predictive tools to predict the transient decompression process following pipeline rupture as well as the atmospheric dispersion of the released CO2 incorporating terrain and weather effects.

Teaching Interests

ES4E4 Fuel and Combustion (Module Leader)

ES9ZN Research Methods and Professional Skills (Module Leader)


View selected publications

Projects and Grants






Evaluation of safety zones and mitigation measures for hydrogen refuelling infrastructure at airports

Development of safety zonal tools for the operation of liquid hydrogen powered aircraft at airfields

Predicting the limiting conditions for the onset of wind-driven fire whirls

Modelling thermal runaway propagation in lithium-ion battery packs, EU Horizon 2020.

2021-2023 Predictive tools for turbulent combustion of hydrogen-enriched natural gas through carefully reduced kinetic mechanisms, EU Horizon 2020.
2019-2021 Lithium-ion battery safety in transport, storage and utilization, Innovate UK Faraday Challenge.
2019-2021 Predicting flame acceleration and Deflagration to Detonation Transition in industrial scale explosions (TurbDDT), EU Horizon 2020.
2018- 2021 Pre-normative research for safe use of liquid hydrogen (PRESLHY), EU Horizon 2020.
2018-2020 In situ stress analysis of lithium-ion battery cell, EU Horizon 2020.
2018-2020 Feasibility study for lithium-ion battery safety, Innovate UK Faraday Challenge.
2014-2020 Numerical characterization and simulation of the complex physics underpinning the Safe Handling of Liquefied Natural Gas (SafeLNG), EU FP7 Marie Curie Innovative Training Network, Coordinator and Scientist in Charge.
2013-2018 Integrated Safety Strategies for Onboard Hydrogen Storage Systems - SUPERGEN H2FC Challenge, EPSRC.
2015-2018 Improving Hydrogen Safety for Energy Applications (HySEA) through pre-normative research on vented deflagrations, EU Horizon 2020.
2014-2018 Developing computationally efficient approaches for modelling radiative heat transfer of soot and evaporating water droplets in FireFOAM, FM Global.
2016-2018 Numerical characterization of fire growth in external facades and other vertical spaces (FACADE FIRE), EU FP7.
2018- 2021 Electro-thermal modelling of lithium-ion battery packs from the safety perspective (SAFE LIB), EU FP7.
2018-2020 Numerical Characterization and Modelling of Syngas Combustion (SYNGAS), EU FP7.
2011- 2014 Dense Phase CO2 PipeLine TRANSportation (COOLTRANS), National Grid Carbon Limited.
2011-2013 DNS and LES of flame acceleration and detonation in vapour cloud explosions, EU FP7.
2009 LES of pancake cloud detonation, GL Nobal Denton (on contract from UK HSE).
2009 Quenching Mechanism & Scalability of Parallel Rod Flame Arrester, BP.
2006-2010 Hydrogen combustion in the context of fire and explosion safety (HYFIRE), EU FP7 MSCA Innovative Training Network, Coordinator and Scientist in Charge.
2008-2009 Rich gas and gaseous CO2 pipeline decompression, National Grid Carbon Limited.
2007-2009 Finite element (FE) analysis of glazing behaviour in the fire environment, EU FP6.
2006-2008 Modelling radiation heat transfer in glazing structures within a LES based fire model, Pilkington.
2006-2008 NANOMIST for fire suppression and explosion control (NANOMIST) – numerical simulations using LES, EU FP6
2006-2009 Various projects on fire and explosion modelling, BP.
2006-2008 CFD modelling of basement fires – investigation of propensity to re-ignition in vitiated fire environment following vent opening, the Deputy Prime Minister’s Department (2006) and Department of Communities and Local Government (2007- 8).
2002-2006 Under-ventilated compartment fires, EU FP5 MSCA Innovative Training Network, Coordinator and Scientist in Charge.
2006-2008 Developing LES based fire modelling capability, KTP with Jeremy Gardener Associates.
1995-1999 The application of field modelling to offshore compartment fires, EPSRC.
1998-2001 Numerical and experimental studies of pool fires, EPSRC

Selected Membership of Editorial Boards and Committees

2019 - Committee Member, British Section of the Combustion Institute.
2019 - 2020 Guest Editor, Special Issue on Lithium-ion Battery Fire Safety, Fire Technology.
2018 - Member and Sub-Task Leader, European Hydrogen Safety Panel, established by the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FC 2 JU), European Commission.
2018 - Academic Expert, Annual QS Global Academic Survey by QS Intelligence Unit (QSIU), Shanghai Jiao Tong University China.
2015 - Member of the Science Board, EPSRC SUPERGEN Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Research Hub
2015 - Deputy Leader, Safety Task Group for the International Energy Agency.
2007 - Steering Committee Member, UK Explosion Liaison Group(UKELG)
2011 - 2015 Lead guest editor to publish 3 special issues on hydrogen safety for the Int. J of Hydrogen Energy.
2016 - Guest editor, special issues on hydrogen safety for the Int. J of Hydrogen Energy.