Welcome to the CIRE Laboratory

Research Vision

The focus of the Combustion, Ignition, Radiation, and Energy Laboratory (CIRE Lab) is using research to gain fundamental understanding to help address challenges related to controlling forest fires, increasing the efficiency of energy conversion systems, and improving propulsion devices. In short, the group strives to make sure that both the fundamental science and the application are addressed through research.

Key Compentencies of the Group 


Knowledge about the combustion characteristics of solid fuels (e.g. forest material) and large hydrocarbon fuels (e.g., jet fuels) is relatively limited. This is significant because this knowledge is needed to design combustion devices which are more efficient and produce less pollution and to develop or evaluate models to protect human lives and property.  The group is addressing this need by performing cutting-edge research into deflagration and detonation combustion processes.  We accomplish this using unique capabilities including subatmospheric and remote test capabilities.



Ignition of engines, combustors for scramjets, and forest fire material can be a challenge. Unfortunately, significant gaps remain in our understanding about the ignition process.  To help address these gaps, the group has performed ground-breaking research into measuring the temperature of ignition kernels and will be investigating ignition of forest fires.


Infrared radiation is a significant marker of the temperature and species distribution within reacting and non-reacting flows. The group has pioneered techniques which use infrared radiation measurements as a non-intrusive diagnostics tool for studying flows. These techniques have been applied to investigate carbon dioxide emissions from streams, drying of pharmaceutical materials, ignition in scramjets, and radiation emissions from flames.


The group is actively pursuing research to develop a pulse detonation engine that can be coupled with a magnetohydrodynamic section to generate electricity and prepare the flow for a turbine.  This research can help enable power generation plants which operate at substantially higher efficiencies.  


The Blunck group is always seeking new opportunities for collaboration with groups from government or industry, including people outside of engineering.  The group actively communicates with companies (e.g., General Electric, Pratt and Whitney), the Department of Defense (e.g., AFRL, NRL), and the Department of Energy (e.g., NETL).  This allows us to gain an appreciation for challenges or limitations in practical systems and conduct research which is relevant.