Dr Guillermo Rein
Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering
Imperial College London


Mechanical Engineering Bldg (room 711)
Exhibition Road, Imperial College
London,SW7 2AZ, UK
G.Rein  imperial.ac.uk

Personal Blog: Fortune favours the bold

I am Senior Lecturer (UK equivalent to Associate Professor) in Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College. I joined Imperial in 2012 from the University of Edinburgh where I worked since 2006.

My research focus is on combustion and reactive solids, combining modelling and experimental approaches. I aim to provide technological solutions to multidisciplinary problems on infrastructure, energy and the environment. My vision is to continue bridging the gap between combustion research and the core disciplines of Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Earth Sciences, and Geo-Engineering. Some examples follow.

On the fundamental side of my research, I have modelled from first principles the heterogeneous kinetics and heat and mass transfer in a reactive porous media to explain NASA's microgravity combustion experiments in polymer foams. More recently I have solved the reason behind the failure of the classical solid ignition theory at high heat fluxes. I proofed numerically and experimentally that the previously unreported key mechanism is in-depth radiation absorption in a pyrolysing translucent medium.

On the applied side of my research, my work is directly impacting the way industry designs modern infrastructure. I have pioneered the design concept of travelling fires which offers a paradigm shift in the structural engineering of modern buildings. I am a key contributor to the creation of the technology allowing for the first time to forecast fire dynamics assimilating sensor data and solving an inverse problem, and to implement infrastructure protection in smart buildings. I have led the development of the novel computational technique of multi-scale modelling for fluid dynamics in long tunnels, which is as accurate as conventional CFD modelling, but two orders of magnitude faster.

On energy and environment, I have developed topics within the current context of the energy crisis and climate change. I coined the concept of accidental burning of fossil fuels referring to the wide spread of smouldering mega-fires of natural coal and peat deposits burning for decades in six continents. I am contributing to understand and reduce these important contributors to atmospheric carbon emissions that destroy valuable energy and environmental resources. The latest emphasis of my research is on carbon sequestration. I research the phenomena of material self-heating to allow the design of infrastructure for very-long-term (millennia) storage of solid-phase carbon produced from charred biomass (biochar).

I have been prolific at publishing my work with 36 journal papers (including contributions in Combustion and Flame, Environmental Science and Technology, Nature Geoscience and PNAS) and received a number of international awards (e.g. Lloyd's Science of Risk, Hinshelwood Prize, Lord Ezra Award, best paper awards x3). My expertise has recently attracted significant media attention (e.g. BBC Radio Wales, NewYork Times, DotEarth, BBC Radio Scotland, El Pais, Scottish TV).

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Dr Guillermo Rein
Imperial College
G.Rein  imperial.ac.uk