Dr. Strzelec earned her Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Combustion Engineering (Chemical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and performed her dissertation research in residence at the Fuels, Engines and Emissions Research Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After completing her doctorate, she did a Post Doctoral Fellowship at ORNL and also had a Post Doctoral Research Fellowship in the Energy Materials Group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). She joined the Mechanical Engineering Department at Texas A&M University as a member of the Thermal Fluids Faculty in fall 2011, when she established the Combustion & Reaction Characterization Laboratory. Her research interests include combustion, exhaust aftertreament catalysts, alternative fuels, pyrolysis and neutron imaging.
Asst. Professor Andrea Strzelec joined the Mechanical Engineering Department at Texas A&M University in Fall 2011. She received her interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Combustion Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and did post-doctoral research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory focused on the impact of alternative fuel blends on the oxidation kinetics for diesel particulates, neutron imaging and fluorination of molten salts for Gen 4 nuclear reactors.
Her research interests include:
- Gas to liquid fuels catalysis
- Reaction characterization projects such as:
- TWF (Three Way (Catalyst) Filter) studies.
- HC-SCR with metal exchanged chabazites.
- Impact of lubricants and additives on particulate characteristics.
- DOC studies of effectiveness of oxidation for biofuel derived emission species.
- Hydrocarbon chemisorption on soot and in Diesel Particulate Filters.
- O2 and NO2 oxidation kinetics for LTC and alternative fuel/combustion derived particulates.
- Size-dependent filtration studies to improve clean filtration efficiency.
- Filtration modeling and design of novel materials.
- Neutron Imaging (DPFs and oil shale deposits in shale rock).
- Biomass torrefaction and pyrolysis.
Dr. Strzelec actively collaborates with:
- Fuels, Engines & Emissions Research Group, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
- Chrysler Group, LLC.
- N2 Kinetics.
- Filter Sensing Technologies, Inc.
- Gamma Technologies, Inc.
- University of Wisconsin-Madison Engine Research Center
- Dr. Alexander Sappok, MIT.
- Prof. Randy Vander Wal, Penn State University.
- Prof. Nicole Zacharia, University of Akron.
- Prof. Sage Kokjohn, University of Wisconsin-Madison
The Combustion & Reaction Characterization Laboratory (CRCL) capabilities include:
- Chemical/Physical Characterization in Powder Reactors, Calorimeter.
- Reaction Kinetics and Surface Area Measurements.
- Powder Samples.
- Particulates (Diesel and GDI, Gas Turbine).
- Catalyst Powders.
- Filtration Efficiency with Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer (SMPS).
- Substrate comparisons.
- Catalyst Bench Reactor for Small Scale Device Testing.
- Engine Test Stand Access.
- TTI – LD chassis dyno (leading 2 senior design teams in installation).
- Partnership with U. Houston – HD, HD chassis.
- Neutron Imaging (ORNL VENUS IDT Member).
The current “star” of the lab is a novel differential powder characterization reactor, designed by Dr. Strzelec and graduate student Justin Nitz, that has the following experimental capabilities and features:
- Experimental Capabilities:
- Continuous, Pulsed or Switching Flow Operation.
- Temperature Programmed Reactions (O/D/R).
- Isothermal Kinetic Parameter Determination.
- Measurement of Adsorption Isotherms.
- BET Surface Area Measurements.
- Chemisorption/Active Surface Measurements.
- Pyrolysis (Biomass).
- Chemical Looping Combustion.
- Heated lines (can handle water, ammonia) and auxiliary inputs.
- Two-stage quartz U-tube, plug flow reactors.
- Products analyzed by quadrupole mass spectrometer (or FTIR).
- Equipped with a fast switching valve, two gas manifolds, and digitally controlled furnaces capable of 950°C.
Combustion, Reaction and Characterization Laboratory
Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources
The newly developed, 650 square foot Combustion, Reaction & Characterization Laboratory (CRCL) is located in room 310 of the Jack E. Brown Chemical Engineering Building on the main campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. The building is ideally located for close access to the investigator and students using the laboratory for research and instructional uses. Thus, the CRCL, which was designed to experimentally characterize and investigate heterogeneous reactions, is well-suited for inclusion of the proposed research.
The room is equipped with two large chemical hoods, necessary safety equipment including fire extinguishers and toxic gas detectors to ensure the personal safety of equipment users, investigators, and visitors. All personnel in the laboratory are required to wear appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) including safety glasses and lab coats. All gases are stored in separate from the laboratory. The laboratory routinely undergoes “Project Safety Analysis (PSA)”, which is a Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) safety protocol for identifying and mitigating safety and work-hazard risks.
The CRCL houses over $300,000 in equipment including: a scanning mobility particle sizer (SMPS) with condensation particle counter (CPC); a Hiden Catlab powder reactor system; a custom built two-stage powder reactor monitored by mass spectrometer; and is in the progress of finalizing a custom built bench scale core reactor monitored by FTIR.
With this suite of capabilities, the techniques available include:
- Temperature Programmed Desorption/Oxidation/Reduction (TPD, TPO, TPR).
- Steady state and transient reactions on powders and bench scale device samples.
- Chemisorption Measurements of the adsorption isotherms.
- In situ surface area measurements, allowing for the measuring the active surface area available for reaction.
- Measurement of fundamental kinetics (Arrhenius parameters).
Professor Strzelec is currently mentoring one doctoral student, two masters students and four undergraduate researchers. The graduate students working with the investigator have dedicated office space and their own computers for use in their academic classes and research activities. All students are seated in the same office space, allowing them to freely communicate and share ideas with each other. A monthly group meeting further allows the students to communicate their research progress with each other, and receive mutual feedback. The investigator meets with each student on a routine basis to monitor the progress of their academic studies and research activities. Undergraduate students typically share desktop computers with each other, and are encouraged to attend the monthly group meetings. They also sit in the same office as the graduate students, affording them exposure to the rigors and excitement of graduate studies.