Professor Sarathy's research interest is in developing sustainable energy technologies with decreased net environmental impact. A major thrust of research is simulating the combustion chemistry of transportation fuels. He develops fundamental chemical kinetic models that can be used to simulate fuel combustion and pollutant formation in energy systems. Engine designers then use these chemical kinetic models to achieve various performance targets using computational simulations. In addition, these models can be used to determine how the chemical structure of a fuel affects pollutant formation.
Professor Sarathy's research in combustion chemistry modeling includes quantum chemistry based kinetic rate calculations, comprehensive mechanism development, combustion cyberinfrastructure development, computer generated detailed and reduced mechanisms, and simulation of multi-dimensional reacting flows.
In addition, he obtains data from fundamental combustion experiments to elucidate reaction pathways of combustion, and to generate experimental data needed to validate detailed chemical kinetic models. These experimental techniques include perfectly stirred reactors, plug flow reactors, and diffusion flames. The chemistry in these reactors is probed using advanced analytical chemistry techniques such as molecular beam time-of-flight mass spectrometry, laser absorption spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and a variety of gas and liquid chromatography methods.
The goal of Professor Sarathy's research is study conventional and alternative fuels (e.g., biofuels, synthetic fuels, etc.), so the environmental impact of combustion systems can be reduced. He also applies chemical kinetics expertise to study a wide range of chemical engineering systems including biomass energy, catalysis, and drinking water treatment.