Propulsion Systems

As the world moves towards more efficient and environmentally friendly fuel sources research is needed to discover the best available future. Within the next 10 years a significant shift is expected in which we will see five classes of propulsion systems emerge. Meet the researchers exploring the latest mobility technologies.


Chunpei Cai

  • Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Links of Interest

Areas of Expertise

  • Fluid dynamics
  • Aerospace and space engineering
  • Computational fluid dynamics

Research Interests

  • Rarefied and non-equilibrium gas dynamics
  • Plasma simulations
  • Electric propulsion
  • Computational fluid dynamics

Bo Chen

  • Professor, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
  • Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Areas of Expertise

  • Mechatronics and embedded systems
  • Agent Technology
  • Monitoring and control networks
  • Hybrid electric vehicles
  • Smart grid

Research Interests

  • Modeling and control of hybrid electric vehicles
  • EV-smart grid integration
  • Distributed monitoring and control
  • Battery control for HEV and energy storage systems
  • IC engine management systems
  • Sensor information fusion

Scott A Miers

  • Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering—Engineering Mechanics
  • SAE Faculty Advisor

Areas of Expertise

  • Alternative and renewable transportation fuels
  • Internal combustion engine efficiency
  • Performance and emissions
  • Wireless data acquisition techniques
  • Combustion visualization

Research Interests

  • Internal combustion engine efficiency, emissions, and performance
  • Alternative and renewable fuels: investigating how the unique chemical compositions affect both engine and vehicle operation
  • IC engine data acquisition techniques such as piston-mounted wireless microwave telemetry and minimally invasive combustion visualization
  • Alternative and renewable transportation fuels
  • In-Use Emissions

Jeffrey D. Naber

  • Richard and Elizabeth Henes Endowed Professor (Energy Systems), Mechanical Engineering—Engineering Mechanics
  • Director, Advanced Power Systems Research Center
  • Pi Tau Sigma Faculty Advisor

Areas of Expertise

  • Internal Combustion Engines
  • Hydrogen and Biofuels
  • After-Treatment

Research Interests

  • Combustion processes and combustion control of hydrogen and hydrogen dual fueled engines
  • Biofuels including ethanol with production from forest products and application in advanced combustion engines
  • Gasoline IC engine research and the development of physical based correlations and models
  • Development of combustion measurement techniques for diesel, gasoline, and HCCI and PPCI engines

Youngchul Ra

  • Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering—Engineering Mechanics

Areas of Expertise

  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Combustion/Chemical kinetics
  • Internal Combustion Engine


  • Advanced Combustion Modeling: Gasoline Compression Ignition (GCI), Reactive Controlled Compression Ignition (RCCI),High Pressure Torch Jet Combustion (HPTJC), Ignition, Flame propagation
  • Engine CFD: Full Conjugate Multi-domain code, Engine combustion application, Code development
  • Chemical kinetics: Multi-component fuel chemistry, Surface chemistry, Soot, Emissions.
  • Alternative Fuel Research: Biofuel, Additives, Spray modeling, Fuel assessment and design
  • High Performance Computing Technology: Parallel computing, Solver algorithm, Optimization

Darrell L. Robinette

  • Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
  • SAE-GM Autodrive Challenge II Co-adviser

Areas of Expertise

  • Electrification of Mobility Systems
  • Connected and Automated Vehicles
  • Automatic Transmissions
  • Torque Converter and Clutch Dynamics

Research Interests

  • Powertrain and propulsion system electrification
  • Connected and Automated Vehicle optimal control for energy
  • Multi-speed transmission powerflow synthesis
  • Drivetrain dynamics and NVH
  • Torque converters and clutch systems

Jeremy Worm

  • Research Engineer, Advanced Power Systems Research Center
  • Instructor, Department of Mechanical Engineering - Engineering Mechanics
  • Director, Michigan Tech Mobile Lab

Research Interests

  • High-Performance Engines (SI & CI)
  • Direct Injection
  • Compressed Natural Gas
  • Alternative Fuels
  • Energy Efficiency

Areas of Expertise

  • Internal Combustion Engines Combustion System Development Variable Valve Lift / Timing Powertrain Calibration Alternative Fuels Engine Integration
  • Hybrid Electric Vehicles
  • Instrumentation & Testing Ground Vehicle Systems Powertrain Systems