Education

  • Ph.D., Princeton University, 1965
  • M.A., Princeton University, 1963
  • M.S., Stanford University, 1962
  • B.S., New York University, 1961

Research Areas and Descriptors

Background

Dr. Zinn began at Tech in 1965 as an Assistant Professor.

Research

Dr. Zinn's research focuses on understanding the dynamics of flow, combustion and propulsion systems, and their active control. This is a multidisciplinary research activity that requires an understanding of fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, combustion, acoustics, and propulsion. Dr. Zinn's research program is supported by the Air Force, Navy, Army, the Department of Energy and industry, and includes investigations whose objectives are to improve the performance of helicopters' gas turbines, rocket motors, low-emission gas turbines, and onboard ship incinerators. Each of these programs investigates the use of a specific control system to improve the performance of the process or system. For example, the Air Force and Department of Energy programs investigate the application of an active control system to eliminate detrimental combustion instabilities, which manifest themselves as large amplitude combustor pressure oscillations that often result in system and/or mission failure.

Dr. Zinn's studies investigate the causes of these pressure oscillations and control systems that could prevent their occurrence. These studies have recently demonstrated that combustion instabilities can be damped in practically real time (that is, within 40 milliseconds!) by modulating the flow rate of a fraction of the fuel input into the combustor. Interestingly, the fuel injector that was developed to modulate the fuel flow rate into the combustor is now being considered for automotive applications; for example, the reduction of soot emissions from diesel engines by multiple injections of the fuel into the combustor. In the Navy program, Dr. Zinn's group is using sound waves, generated by a pulse combustion process, to improve the mixing and heat transfer within the incinerator and, thus, accelerate the incineration process and reduce the required incinerator volume.

Links

Professor Recalls His Experience Playing for the U.S. National Soccer Squad

Distinctions

  • American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    • Air Breathing Propulsion Award, 2003
    • Pendray Aerospace Literature Award, 2000
    • Propellants and Combustion Award, 1996
    • Fellow, 1985
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers
    • George Westinghouse Gold Medal, 2006
    • Fellow, 1985
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
    • Ben T. Zinn Combustion Laboratory Named by the School of Aerospace Engineering, 2006
    • Faculty Research Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research Development, 1997
    • Distinguished Professor Award, 1990
  • International Gas Turbine Institute
    • Scholar Award, 2005
    • Aircraft Engine Technology Award, 2005
  • Combustion Institute Alfred C. Egerton Gold Medal, 2002
  • Elected to the National Academy of Engineering, 1995
  • Sigma Xi (Georgia Tech Chapter) Sustained Research Award, 1976
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration Certificate of Recognition, 1974

Patents

  • Methods, Apparatus and Systems for Real Time Identification and Control of Modes of Oscillations, U. S. Patent 5,719,791, with Y. Neumeier, February 17, 1998
  • Methods, Apparatus and Systems for Real Time Identification and Control of Modes of Oscillations, U. S. Patent 5,784,300, with Y. Neumeier, July 21, 1998
  • Pulse Combustor Apparatus, U. S. Patent 5,176,513, with N. Miller, January 5, 1993
  • Tunable Pulse Combustor, U. S. Patent 5,015,171, with B. R. Daniel and A. B. Rabhan, May 14, 1991
  • Stably Operating Pulse Combustor and Method, U.S. Patent 4,929,172, with D. Reiner, May 29, 1990
  • Method and Apparatus for Conducting a Process in a Pulsating Environment, U. S. Patent 4,909,731, with B. R. Daniel and A. B. Rabhan, March 20, 1990
  • Tunable Pulse Combustor, U. S. Patent 4,770,626, with B. R. Daniel, September 13, 1988
  • Method and Apparatus for Conducting a Process in a Pulsating Environment, U. S. Patent 4,699,588, with B. R. Daniel, October 13, 1987
  • Pulse Combustor Apparatus, U. S. Patent 4,529,377, with B. R. Daniel and N. Miller, July 16, 1985

Representative Publications

  • B. Zinn, et al. 2005. Acoustic Sensing and Mitigation of Lean Blow Out in Premixed Flames. 43rd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, Reno, Nevada, AIAA-2005-1420.
  • B. Zinn, T. Conrad, and E. Lubarsky. 2004. Slow Control of Combustion Instabilities. 42nd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, Reno, Nevada, AIAA-2004-110034.
  • B. Zinn and R. Erickson. 2004. Numerical Investigation of the Effect of Energy Addition Processes on Pulsejet Performance. 42nd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, Reno, Nevada AIAA-2004-1210.
  • B. Zinn and N. T. Weiland. 2003. Open Cycle Traveling Wave Thermoacoustics: Mean Temperature Difference at the Regenerator Interface. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 114(5).
  • B. Zinn and T. Lieuwen. 1998. The Role of Unmixedness in Driving Combustion Instabilities in Low NOx Gas Turbines. Proceedings of the 27th International Symposium on Combustion.