Energy and Propulsion Technology

The Center for Energy and Propulsion Technology at ARI provides a strong interdisciplinary approach to research and technology development, focused on interactions of combustion, fluid flow and transport processes. Experimental, analytical and numerical techniques are combined both to develop innovative technological concepts and to enhance fundamental understanding of key processes. Research in this area is supported by U.S. government agencies, including DARPA, IARPA,  Army, Navy and Air Force, SOCOM, NASA, Department of Energy, EPA and by industry sponsors.

Research & Technology Areas

  • Minature IC Engine (MICE) Generator for Portable Electric Power
  • Free-Piston Pump Technology
  • Optical Pyrometry Instrumentation for Power Systems
  • Two-Stroke Engine PM2.5 Emission Reduction
  • Nanoparticle Classification and Separation Technology
  • Gas Turbine Combustion/Emission Control
  • Gas Turbine Blade Cooling
  • MicroAir Vehicle System and Propulsion Technology
  • Mixer/Ejector Nozzle Cold Flow Simulation Facility
  • Flow Diagnostics - LIF, Rayleigh, Chemiluminescence and Particle Scattering
  • Solid Propellant Combustion
    • Exhaust Afterburning Mechanisms
    • Infrared Decoy Formulations
    • Infrared Emission Measurements and Analysis

Internal Facilities

  • Pressurized Solid Propellant Strand Burner

Specialized External Resources

  • MIT Gas Turbine Laboratory Flow and Thermal Facilities


Dr. Kurt Annen, Center for Energy and Propulsion
Kurt Annen
Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University

Dr. Annen's research is in the areas of energy conversion, combustion, heat transfer, and flowfield diagnostics.  His recent research focus is the development of a miniature internal combustion engine (MICE) generator for portable electric power generation, capable of operation on JP-8, and diesel, as well as propane.  He designed and performed stress analysis for the condenser and turbine disc components for a new technology vaporization-cooled turbine blade in a DARPA-funded test and demonstration program.  Other research areas have included the development of improved IR countermeasures by modifying and improving the combustion characteristics of IR decoys, and the development and application of combustion diagnostics including a chemiluminescent tracer for visualization of high NOx formation regions in combustion devices, a field-portable FTIR spectrometer system, a LIBS instrument for metal alloy analysis, a high precision O2 LIF temperature diagnostic for turbomachinery, a laser Rayleigh scattering diagnostic for temperature and density, and a laser backscatter particle diagnostic that was use in one of the first in-situ measurements of particle size distribution and concentration in an industrial boiler.

William Rundgren

Mr. Rundgren is a Senior Technician and is a member of the team working on the development of the Minature Internal Combustion Engine (MICE). He is a graduate of Nashoba Valley Technical High School and is applying his previous experience in machining, mechanical systems, assembly, and quality control and inspection to the MICE generator projects.

Richard Jorgenson
Richard Jorgenson
M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Richard joined Aerodyne as a Mechanical Engineer in 2012. He has previous experience as a Machine Design Engineer designing mechanisms for prototype electrical contact manufacturing machines, as well as experience in engineering research and development for 3D printers. His graduate research topics included the coding and application of a multi-objective genetic algorithm and development of a numerical Stirling engine model supporting research into a novel liquid-piston Stirling engine concept.

Jim Woodroffe
Ph. D., Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dr. Woodroffe has extensive experience in technological applications of complex, multi-phase, reacting flows. His expertise is wide-ranging: from large-scale process development projects for basic industries, to small assembled products incorporating fabricated parts, sensors, lasers, and electronics. Dr. Woodroffe holds over 30 patents and has over 40 technical publications. In addition to his technical contributions, he also has had a great deal of business development, program management, and commercialization experience in a number of multi-disciplinary engineering R&D programs, involving many individuals and organizations. He was previously at Textron Systems and its predecessor Avco Research Laboratory, where he held several technical and management positions.

Affiliated Personnel

Dr. David Stickler, Consultant


Minimizing Sampling Loss in Trace Gas Emission Measurements for Aircraft Engines by Using a Chemical Quick-Quench Probe, E. De la Rosa Blanco, J. Peck, R. Miake-Lye, F. Hills, E.C. Wood., S.H. Herndon, K.D. Annen. P.E. Yelvington, T.J. Leach, J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 133, 071602, 2011.

Miniature Internal Combustion Engine-Generator for High Energy Density Portable Power, K.D. Annen, D.B. Stickler, and J. Woodroffe, Paper HO-02, 26th Army Science Conference, Dec. 2008.

Experimental Evaluation of a Turbine Blade with Potassium Evaporative Cooling, J. Townsend, J. Kerrebrock, D. Stickler, J. Propul. Power, 24, 410-415, 2008.

Experimental Evaluation of a Turbine Blade with Potassium Evaporative Cooling, J. Townsend, J. Kerrebrock, D. Stickler, 40th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference, Fort Lauderdale FL, AIAA Paper No. 2004-3571

Glow Plug-Assisted HCCI Combustion in a Miniature Internal Combustion Engine (MICE) Generator,
K.D. Annen, D.B. Stickler, and J. Woodroffe, AIAA Paper No.2006-1349, January 2006.

Linearly-Oscillating Miniature Internal Combustion Engine (MICE) for Portable Electric Power, K.D. Annen, D.B. Stickler, and J. Woodroffe, AIAA Paper No. 2003-1113, January 2003.

Miniature Motor Generator, US Patent No. 6,349,683 B1, 26 February 2002, K.D. Annen, D.B. Stickler, and P.L. Kebabian

Vaporization Cooling for Gas Turbines, the Return-Flow Cascade, J.L. Kerrebrock, D.B. Stickler, Transactions of the ASME, 122, 36-42 (2000).

Vaporization Cooling for Gas Turbines, The Return Flow Cascade, J.L. Kerrebrock and D.B. Stickler, ASME Turbo Expo, June (1998).

Kinetic Modeling and Sensitivity Analysis for B/H/O/C/F Combustion Systems, R.C. Brown, C.E. Kolb, R.A. Yetter, F.L. Dryer and H. Rabitz, Comb. and Flame, 101, 221-238 (1995).

Infrared Tunable Diode Laser Measurements of Nitrogen Oxide Species in and Aircraft Engine Exhaust, J. Wormhoudt, M.S. Zahniser, D.D. Nelson, J.B. McManus, R.C. Miake-Lye and C.E. Kolb, Conference on Optical Techniques in Thermal, Fluid and Combustion Flows, SPIE 1995 International Symposium on Optical Science, Engineering and Instrumentation, SPIE 2546 (1995).

Studies of Pyrolytic Products in Soil Using Infrared Tunable Diode Laser Detection, J. Wormhoudt, J.H. Shorter and C.E. Kolb, Energetic Materials Symposium, Materials Research Society, 1995 Fall Meeting.

Kinetic Model for Hydrocarbon-Assisted Particulate Boron Combustion, R.C. Brown, C.E. Kolb, S.Y. Cho, R.A. Yetter, F.L. Dryer and H. Rabitz, International. J. Chem. Kinetics, 26, 319-332 (1994).

Plume and Wake Dynamics, Mixing and Chemistry Behind an HSCT Aircraft, R.C. Miake-Lye, M. Martinez-Sanchez, R.C. Brown, and C.E. Kolb, J. Aircraft, 30, 467 (1993).

Gas Temperature Measurements Using a Dual-Line Detection Rayleigh Scattering Technique, M.V. Otugen, K.D. Annen and R.G. Seasholtz, AIAA J., 31, 2098 (1993).

Kinetics of High Temperature Hydrocarbon Assisted Boron Combustion, R.C. Brown, C.E. Kolb, S.Y. Cho, R.A. Yetter, H. Rabitz and F.L. Dryer, in Gas-Phase Metal Reactions, A. Fontjin, Editor, p. 643, Elsevier Science Publishers B.V., The Netherlands, (1993).

Infrared Fiber Optic Diagnostic for Solid Propellant Combustion, J. Wormhoudt and P.L. Kebabian, Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings 296, Structure and Properties of Energetic Materials, Boston, MA (1992)

Design of a Gas Turbine Coal Combustor Using a 3-D Numerical Code, A.U. Chatwani, A. Turan, R.C. Diehl and D.B. Stickler, 1992 Joint Power Generation Conference and Exhibition, Atlanta GA

Fluid Dynamic and Chemistry Effects on Thrusted Decoy Exhaust Plume IR Intensity, K.D. Annen and E.J. Strang, 20th JANNAF Exhaust Plume Technology Meeting, CPIA Pub 568, p 391, May (1991).

Combustion Technology Development for an Advanced Glass Melting System, D.B. Stickler, L. Westra, J. Woodroffe, K.-M. Jeong, and L.W. Donaldson, Presented at Ninth Annual Industrial Energy Technology Conference and Exhibition, Houston, Texas, September 16-18, (1987).