ECM 2017 in Dubrovnik – in their own words

The European Combustion Meeting took place in April 24-27, 2017 in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

The vibe at the ECM 2017

The UK section contributed travel funds to 20 poster presenters. According to attendees, the meeting itself was well organised, and the poster sessions provided an excellent opportunity for researchers to mingle, network and exchange ideas. Some raised the issue of grouping poster sessions by area – that makes it convenient to meet people with similar interests, but also means all presenters must be by their posters at the same time – perhaps a better idea would be do distribute the sessions over different days on the next one. More than one attendee had reservations about the quality of the catering, however, and at least one thought it was a great idea to be so close to the rooms as to allow time for a recovery nap. Below are selected sections of UK attendees comments. The next ECM is scheduled for 2019 in Lisbon. Many thanks to Ajay Gupta of Imperial College for the photos.

Ajay Gupta, Imperial College

Ajay Gupta presenting his poster

I had a great interaction with Professor Robert W. Dibble where I talked about my experimental work on autoignition in heated co-flows and we discussed his work on autoignition of methane/air in his vitiated coflow burner | it was really an honour to meet him. Over lunch, I also had a conversation with Dr. Gaetano Magnotti from the Clean Combustion Research Center, King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST). He explained me his work on developing new laser diagnostic techniques; this was interesting as I have been working with high-speed optical measurements at Imperial College London. Following this, I also interacted with a few research students from KAUST | I remember one particular discussion where one of the students mentioned that he is finding it very challenging to generate monodispersed fuel droplets for experiments in a pressurised vessel. We exchanged a few ideas and I recommended him to try using a piezoelectric droplet generator.


Jun Xia, Brunel University

The 8th European Combustion Meeting (ECM) was held in the beautiful Croatian town Dubrovnik. It was very nice meeting old friends and knowing new colleagues during the conference. British researchers were a major mass of the research community. The keynote lectures were informative, including review of state-of-the-art research on biomass combustion, IC engine simulation, chemical kinetics and some key issues in spray modelling. Of particular interest to myself is the review of the modelling techniques currently used by the engine industry on what has been achieved and what the future research needs are. As always a unique aspect of ECM, a poster conference offers the authors  more direct communication opportunities with the audience, which I had very much enjoyed. I have received very useful comments to further improve our work.

Yang Zhang, University of Sheffield

This was the first time I attended an ECM. When my student told me that the meeting only had poster sessions I was a bit surprised and wondered how effective it could be. I looked at the detail schedule and noticed that there were five poster sessions arranged in sequence and there were no parallel sessions. Each session is long enough for me to look through and I can ask many questions to the presenters on the posters of interest to me. Many topics I might have missed if they were presented in a parallel session. I have gained much useful information which is very valuable to my new research. By standing by my own poster, connections with those people who are really interested in my research are established and useful feedback is also received. Another good point is that the meeting is in a big hotel with majority people staying in the same hotel, which is really convenient, especially if you are tired and would like to have a short nap to regain your energy.

Kai Luo, University of Southampton

ECM2017 had a good technical programme covering a full spectrum of topics. I especially enjoyed the invited talk by Martin Sommerfeld. Unlike other spray research focusing on the macro features, Sommerfeld’s talk looked into the detailed droplet dynamics. While almost all spray models ignore droplet collisions,  Sommerfeld found it necessary to take into account droplet collision effects. This somehow vindicated my own research into droplet dynamics including collisions using the lattice Boltzmann method, which at times seemed to be purely of academic interest.Outside of the technical areas, the weather was unexpectedly cool due to a cold snap during that week. The organization was fine albeit with little hospitality – we were provided with self-service lunches but without any drinks. A more worrying observation, however, was the rather small number of delegates from the UK.

Peter Kraus, Leibnitz University Hannover

This was my third ECM, and while the numbers show growth, my feelings of the conference are somewhat mixed. The positives include the invited lectures: I have particularly enjoyed the talk of Dr. Tatschl, as for me it is sometimes hard to see how the work we do in computational chemistry translates into real-world applications, and this presentation showcased that very well. Another very interesting talk was by Prof. Turanyi, as this one was the most relevant for my research interests. It was also very nice to meet former colleagues from Imperial College, past and hopefully future collaborators from other institutes, including Dr. Mantzaras and Mr. Sui from PSI with whom I have exchanged many emails about their results from the high-pressure catalytic reactor.

My feelings about the conference were mixed regarding the choice of the venue (or perhaps the city itself). One of the other numbers that grew for ECM 2017 were the conference fees, especially when compared to Budapest and Lund. However, I do not think this increase was reflected in the quality of the venue, which was just a single conference hall that could have been basically anywhere.

Additionally, the catering at the venue and at the banquet was ridiculous, starting with the Welcome Reception with no food, continuing with the Cold Coffee breaks and lunches without drinks (not even water) provided, or several people at the Banquet being told that if they don’t eat their meat they can’t have any pudding. I don’t think anyone could have foreseen these issues would arise in one of the most sought-after conference locations in Europe. The conference was well planned, and ran like a clockwork. Overall, I had a very enjoyable time, and will try to come to Lisbon in two years time!

Manosh Paul, University of Glasgow

Some of the discussion I had with several researches during the conference are very helpful to particularly to look at the way the kinetic control of the coal particle combustion is studied in our work. Discussion with Professor Mario Costa on the aspect of biomass feedstock mix and how the characterisation of hybrid mixed feed influences the combustion process was also particularly helpful. Additionally, Dipl.-Phys. Dr. Ing. Martin Schiemann, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, expressed interest to initiate a research collaboration with me and I will follow up on this with an aim to develop a suitable collaborative research proposal with his group.

Tao Li, Imperial College

The meeting was indeed a great conference, a valuable opportunity to meet colleagues, communicate our research. For instance, I talked with Prof. Mantzaras about heterogeneous combustion, catalytic combustion on solid surface and learned quite a lot, especially about the chemical mechanisms included inside and the experimental diagnostic methods. I also learned that the nuclear research centre in France also perform very similar research to mine — the flame propagation and acceleration. Through the communication, I got to know more about the practical use of my research.

Yushuai Liu, Imperial College

In this meeting, there were two productive discussion with Meng Xia, the author of ECM2017.0165, and Y. Ding, the author of ECM2017.0190. Meng’s work is mainly related to determine the chemiluminescence characteristics of coal combustion in methane environment. We discussed the recently development of NO mechanism in CNRS, she suggested a recent published NO mechanism to me. This mechanism can provide more accurate NO prediction in rich flames than the conventional one in the GRI Mech. This is useful for me to assess the ability of using chemiluminescence to measuring NO in combustion process. Another meaningful discussion was with Y. Ding. His work is measuring and simulation chemiluminescence in mixed fuel flames. We discussed the way to quantify chemiluminescent intensity. He pointed out one mistake in my previous research on quantifying chemiluminescent intensity. This is very helpful for my future work and thesis.

Daniel Friedrich,  Imperial College

ECM 2017 proved to be very useful to my research as I had the opportunity to meet V. Sabelnikov who derived one of the two existing formulations of our subgrid combustion model and was able to give me more insight into the method and its application. I also had an interesting discussion with Prof. Pfitzner of the Bundeswehr University Munich on premixed flame propagation in our combustion model. Finally, I had the chance to talk to one of the experimentalists, Z. Yin from DLR, working on the test case I am currently simulating numerically. He was able to give me details on the wall temperatures in the experiments, which will help me achieve better results in the simulation.

Panos Koniavitis, Imperial College

ECM 2017 was my last and fifth international conference before submitting my thesis in few months time. It was a great opportunity to showcase my research which is now in a much more mature and complete stage than two years back, for my first international conference which was ECM 2015. The layout of ECM is ideal for detailed discussions with other researchers, as there is much more time than the typical 3-5’ after usual conference

presentations. Specifically, I had the opportunity to talk with people from other labs and institutes for updates on their ongoing research including the groups from IFP (French Petroleum Institute), DLR Stuttgart (Uwe Riedel), TU Eindhoven (Jeroen v. Oijen) and CORIA-Rouen (Bruno Renou). Not only did I manage to discuss about my research, but I started some early-stage collaborations for future projects with groups working on experiments for jet fuels. ECM was finally a great chance to discuss for possible research positions or post-docs for the continuation of my career as I approach the end of my PhD.

Jiawei Lai, Imperial College

During the ECM conference, I have been able to present my work about the flow topologies, attend insightful seminars on the frontier research in combustion. My first day of meeting unfolded with a talk from Dr Reinhard Tatschl from AVL List on the simulation of the IC-engine combustion and after the meeting, I could have a vivid discussion with him in person regarding the methodology for the industrial simulation. It was a great opportunity that I could have constructive advices again from my MSc supervisor Dr Navarro-Martinez regard to the flow configurations.  Moreover, I have a talk with Dr Luis Cifuentes on the topologies theory. I will implement those useful suggestions on my future investigations.

Xujiang Wang, University College London

I had a very good discussion with Jiawei Lai. We talked about the setting of integral length scale and resolution for DNS studies. He explained his parameters and why he chose those values. It gives me a good reference. A researcher visited my poster and gave me some instructions about analysing Darrieus-Landau instability. He also recommended two posters which helped me a lot in flame instability analysing. I also had the chance to meet Cheng Chi who is also doing DNS studies. His group have much experience in post-processing. I think I can learn something useful from him in the future. I also had the chance to meet E. Hawkes who has published many good papers about direct numerical simulation of jet flame. His results are amazing.

Yuri Paixao de Almeida

In the ECM 2017 I could learn from several researchers different aspects of numerical combustion. I have been working with supersonic reactive H2/O2 mixing layers and I could meet Artur Tyliszczak, that works with temporally evolving H2/O2 mixing layers. He kindly explained to me the importance of the radicals HO2 and OH on the ignition mechanism of hydrogen combustion. He also evaluated the influence of different discretization schemes, like WENO and TVD, in the ignition mechanism of ethanol. This was an insightful discussion to me because I have been using the same discretization schemes on my work. He verified that the TVD scheme provided a faster ignition than the WENO, something that I have to take into consideration in my findings. I could also have the pleasure of meeting professor Vladimir Sabel’nikov, the precursor of the model that I have been working on. My research aims the development of a LES-PDF equation that includes on variables of the flow and I plan to solve it using the Eulerian stochastic fields approach. Sabel’nikov developed a similar model using the low Mach number assumption and I have been working on its extension to a compressible formulation, aiming supersonic combustion applications. He gave some useful comments regarding the derivation of my model and we have been in touch since then. He provided me by email a PhD thesis of a former student of him and also some comments on the rigorous derivation of the stochastic fields model. Overall, the ECM was an outstanding event that I plan to attend again.

Carlos E Garcia, Imperial College

I attended ECM for the first time in 2017, where I had the opportunity to present a poster and interact with several colleagues. In particular, attending ECM allowed me to learn more about the experimental work of Dr. Markus Kohler from DLR and discuss alternative ways of performing laser-induced incandescence (LII) measurements.  While speaking to fellow attendees I also learnt about experimental data published in the framework of the International Sooting Flame Workshop (ISFW), which turned out to be relevant to my research. I might consider supplying experimental data to ISFW in the future.  Also interesting to me was a poster by Prof. Leipertz’s group showing their technique to measure soot volume fraction using light extinction. I was planning a similar experiment myself, so learning about the specifics of their work gave me some valuable ideas. Finally, ECM served as a natural place to have a face-to-face meeting with my project collaborators from ITV Stuttgart (Prof. Kronenburg), as they also happened to attend ECM.

Zhengjie Shi, Imperial College

The ECM2017 I attended presented useful topics on reaction kinetics of combustion, laminar and turbulent flames, combustion diagnostics and so on. Since my research belongs to the combustion diagnostics area, this conference provided a good opportunity to exchange and share experiences, new ideas, and research results about all aspects of combustion science and technology. I met a number of academics and professionals from different countries who have similar research interests such as laser-aided velocimetry and composition measurements in flames.