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Event Date and Time
Elaine Oran, O’Donnell Foundation Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering, Texas A&M University at College Station
The most complex and difficult problems in fluid dynamics involve transitions among what seem to be relatively stable states. When these systems also involve exothermic nuclear or chemical reactions, the results can be dramatic and unexpected. Such reactive-flow transitions are critical elements in the of physical systems ranging from propulsion, to accidental fuel explosions, to explosions of thermonuclear supernova, and arguably to the primal explosion that created the universe. In this presentation, we examine three examples of transition to the strongest form of reactive-flow explosion, a detonation: a natural gas explosion in a coal mine, a vapor cloud explosion in a fuel storage facility, and an exploding white dwarf star. An important point is that understanding the basic principles that explain these explosions and transitions in one area of science or engineering has informed and advanced the other.