William A. Sirignano

Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Henry Samueli Endowed Chair in Engineering
University of California, Irvine

Personal information

Address 3202 Engineering Gateway
University of California Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-3975
E-mail sirignan at uci.edu
Phone 949.824.3700
Fax 949.824.3772
Professional Interests Spray Combustion, Turbulent Combustion and Ignition, Aerospace Propulsion, Rocket Combustion Instability, Liquid Injection, Flow and Transport at Supercritical Pressures, Flamelet Theory, Automotive Combustion, Energy Conversion and Air Pollution, Fire Research, Noise Suppression, and Applied Mathematics

Professor at UC Irvine

Dr. Sirignano was a Professor at Princeton University from 1967 to 1979 after receiving his Ph.D. from there in 1964. He was the George Tallman Ladd Professor and Department Head at Carnegie-Mellon University from 1979 to 1984 before becoming the Engineering Dean at UCI. He left the deanship and currently he holds the Henry Samueli Endowed Chair in Engineering at UCI.

Click here for a more detailed biography.


Professor Sirignano's major forefront research accomplishments include:

  • Analysis predicting periodic nonlinear oscillations with shockwaves in an unstable combustor
  • Explanation of the nonlinear fluid dynamics associated with Helmholtz resonators
  • Determination of admittance for oscillatory, three-dimensional nozzle flows
  • Theory for condensed-phase behavior in flame spread above liquid and solid fuels
  • Theory for ignition of combustible gas by a hot projectile
  • Resolution of vorticity mechanisms in liquid stream breakup
  • Improved understanding of multi-branched flames
  • Resolution of turbulent flame and propagation in reciprocating and rotary internal combustion engines
  • Theory of droplet vaporization and convective heating with internal circulation; computational methods for spray flows
  • Theory of droplet interactions in a dense spray
  • Analysis of driving mechanisms for combustion instability in rockets and ramjets
  • Stochastic analysis of trigger for nonlinear combustion instability
  • Concept and analysis for improved efficiency and increased thrust with turbine burners
  • Concept and analysis for miniature combustors with liquid-fuel films
  • Analysis of fluid flow in trans-critical thermodynamic states

Information for Students

PLEASE READ THE INFORMATION BELOW CAREFULLY IF YOU HAVE ANY INTEREST IN WORKING AS A STUDENT WITH PROFESSOR SIRIGNANO. Realize that he receives many informal inquiries from prospective students daily and IS NOT ABLE TO RESPOND because of the huge amount of time that would be required for responses to all of these communications. Please appreciate that his teaching, student mentoring, and research obligations demand his full attention; thus, an efficient means of communication with prospective students is needed. This website is designed to give those students as much useful information as possible about Professor Sirignano and his research and education interests.

There should be positions for new graduate students this coming Fall in our research group. Stipends and support for tuition and fees can be available when required for admitted students. Professor Sirignano cannot respond with any advice to an inquiry by a prospective graduate student who informally sends a CV and asks for an evaluation of the likelihood of gaining entrance. It is not possible to make a meaningful assessment of any individual's qualifications or likelihood of success at admission without seeing the completed formal application with reference letters in the standard format, transcripts, and official reports of GRE scores. So, it is best to make the formal application if you have a strong interest. If you note on your application that you have a special interest in performing your research for the MS Thesis and / or PhD dissertation with Professor Sirignano, that application should be circulated to him by our administrators responsible for application processing and then he will carefully examine it.

As noted elsewhere in this web site, graduate students who have worked with Professor Sirignano have generally enjoyed very successful professional careers in academia, government, and industry. Several topics of major interests are studied within the group at any one time. The list of publications and the copies of slide presentations for research seminars, given elsewhere in this web site, should provide a useful overview of the research activities. The available graduate courses and degree requirements can be found at the UCI MAE web site http://mae.eng.uci.edu

Many students, especially from foreign universities, communicate with us requesting a research internship with Professor Sirignano. We only accommodate students who are prepared to pay their own costs and can stay for a period of at least one year, which is a minimal time to accomplish a significant piece of research. We receive a large number of internship requests; so, if the ability to spend a year is not clearly stated in the communication from the student, we do not respond. Evidence of top academic standing and four years of university education is required.

Status of Former PhD Students and Postdocs

J.S. Tien1970Professor, Case Western Reserve
T.S. Tonon1972Solar engineering industry, New Jersey
P. Tang1972Researcher, Los Alamos National Laboratory, JPL
A.K. Varma1972Researcher, Bell Laboratories
C. Bruno1973Professor, University of Rome, Consultant, UTRC
J.R. Bellan1974Senior Scientist, JPL; Lecturer, Cal Tech
T.J. Rosfjord1974Manager, United Technologies Research Center
S. Prakash1978Professor, University of Roorkee, Hewlett-Packard
J.I. Ramos1980Professor, Carnegie Mellon University and University of Malaga
Y.P. Su1981Propulsion Chief, Lung-Tan Taiwan Government Laboratory
M. Micci1981Professor, Pennsylvania State University
A. Birk1981Researcher, Army Ballistics Research Laboratory
S.T. Lerner1981Senior VP and Chief Technical Officer, Praxair
S. Parker1981Researcher, Aeronautical Research Associates at Princeton
A.Y. Tong1983Professor, University of Texas, Arlington
P. Givi1984Distinguished Professor, University of Pittsburgh
G. Patnaik1985Researcher, Naval Research Laboratories
A. Eaton1988Researcher, Brigham Young University
K. Molavi1990Engineering Consultant, Irvine
C.H. Chiang1990Professor, KaoShiung Polytech Institute, Taiwan
D. Schiller1991Engineer, Boeing, Huntington Beach
R. Bhatia1993Manager, Dell Inc.
J.P. Delplanque1993Professor and Dean of Graduate Studies, University of California, Davis
M. Masoudi1998Engineer, Bosch
C. Mehring1999Professor, University of Stuttgart
F. Cheng2008Family manufacturing business, Hong Kong
S. Dabiri2009Assistant Professor, Purdue University
G. Wu2010Researcher, FLUENT
B. Colcord2011Data analyst, New Zealand Air
D. Jarrahbashi2014Assistant Professor, Texas A&M
T. M. Nguyen2018Researcher, Sandia Laboratories
A. Jorda Juanos2018Researcher, Simerics, Inc.
A. Zandian2018Researcher, Convergent Science Inc.
A. ChervinskyDeceased, formerly Lecturer, Technion
O.P. SharmaProfessor, IIT, Kampur
C.C. FengProfessor, Trenton State College
C.K. LawProfessor, Princeton University
F.V. BraccoDeceased, formerly Professor, Princeton University
H.S. HomanExxon Research Laboratories
J. HumphreyDeceased, formerly Professor, UCB and U. of Va.
A. GanyProfessor, Technion
L. CavenyAir Force SDI Office
S.K. AggarwalProfessor, University of Illinois, Chicago
R. TalIsrael Defense Industry
R.H. RangelProfessor, UCI
M.S. RajuNYMA Researcher at NASA Glenn
B. AbramzonConsultant, Israel
B. CetegenProfessor and Department Chair, University of Connecticut
G. ContinilloResearcher, CNR, Italy and Professor, Universita del Sannio
C.M. MegaridisProfessor, University of Illinois, Chicago
F.H. TsauResearcher, Industrial Technical Institute, Taiwan
E. GutheilProfessor, University of Heidelberg
J. CaiProfessor, Northwest Polytechnic University, China
P. PopovAssistant Professor, San Diego State University
J. XiongResearcher, NASA Ames

Publications, Projects & Courses

Stochastic Modeling of Transverse Wave Instability in a Liquid Propellant Rocket Engine

Propellant Injector Influence on Liquid Propellant Rocket Engine Instability

Vorticity Dynamics for Transient High-Pressure Liquid Injection

Early Spray Development at High Gas Density: Hole, Ligament, and Bridge Formations

Transient Combustion of a Methane-Hydrate Sphere

Driving Mechanisms for Combustion Instability

Advances in Droplet Array Combustion Theory and Modelling

Triple flame: Inherent Asymmetries and Pentasectional Character

Transverse Combustion Instability in a Recatangular Rocket Motor

Triggering and Restabilization of Combustion Instability with Rocket Motor Acceleration

Two-Time-Variable Perturbation Theory for Liquid-Rocket Combustion Instability

Coaxial Jet Flame Subject to Long-Wavelength nAcoustic Oscillations

Combustion with Multiple Flames under High Strain Rates

Compressible Flow at High Pressure with Linear Equation of State

Engine-type and Propulsion-configuration Selections for Long-duration UAV Flights

Extinction Analysis of a Methane-Oxygen Counterflow Flame at High Pressure

Length-scale Cascade and Spray Expansion for Planar Liquid Jets

Longitudinal Combustion Instability in a Rocket Motor with a Single Coaxial Injector

Low-Probability Events Leading to Rocket Engine Combustion Instability

Nonlinear Combustion Instability in a Multi-Injector Rocket Engine

Normal Shocks with High Upstream Pressure

Numerical Simulation of Liquid Round Jet Atomization

Counterflow and wall stagnation flow with three-dimensional strain

Planar Liquid Jet Early Deformation and Atomization Cascades

Pressure Effects on Real-gas Laminar Counterflow

Spontaneous and Triggered Longitudinal Combustion Instability in a Rocket Engine

The Impacts of Three Flamelet Burning Regimes in Nonlinear Combustion Dynamics

Transient Behavior near Liquid-Gas Interface at Supercritical Pressure

Understanding Liquid-Jet Atomization Cascades Via Vortex Dynamics

Vorticity Dynamics in a Spatially Developing Liquid Jet Inside a Coflowing Gas

Photos of Interest | A Brief Account

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