Prof. Christopher Depcik's unique educational background with degrees in both Mechanical and Aerospace engineering allow his group's simulation activities to be applied to a wide number of different fields. One significant focus is in regards to the modeling of catalytic converters and Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs) for automotive applications. In order to create more predictive and faster models, Dr. Depcik and his students work to merge a fundamental detailed understanding of the reactions on the surface into an adaptive global kinetics formulation. This occurs by researching the pertinent detailed reaction steps and deriving a global mechanisms from the Rate Determining Steps. Then, the variables in this global mechanism are written as a function of metal properties like dispersion. Moreover, varying degrees of computation fluid dynamics (dynamically incompressible and compressible) are utilized in order to adjust to the desired numerical platform. For example, model fidelity ranges from a faster than real-time lumped parameter DPF model to the simulation of diffusion occurring within a catalytic converter washcoat. The goal is to create more predictive simulations with a reduced computational expense that can adapt to the ageing of the devices. Eventually, the idea is to incorporate these codes within Engine Control Units to provide results on a real time basis to mitigate the emissions leaving the tailpipe. Other efforts apply the fundamental equations of mass, momentum, energy, and species to topics such as waste heat recovery, thermodynamic heat release in internal combustion engines, and even lithium ion batteries.
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