Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Professor Seshadri is an expert in combustion. He is interested in the chemical inhibition of flames, the combustion of diesel fuels and solid propellants, the mechanisms involved in the formation of pollutants, and the destruction of toxic compounds. He has helped demonstrate the usefulness of asymptotic analysis in the science of combustion. Asymptotic analysis employs the mathematical concept of a limit to efficiently identify critical boundaries, reactions, or other factors dominant in complex non-linear natural phenomena. In 1998, Seshadri applied an asymptotic analysis that succeeded in singling out the most critical interaction among hundreds ensuing when the superior industrial fire suppressant Halon 1301 extinguishes a flame. Halon 1301 is widely used by the military to quench fires in planes. But the chemical, also known as bromotrifluoromethane or CF3Br is no longer manufactured because it damages the Earth's protective ozone layer. Because Seshadri implicated bromine as critical to Halon 1301's fire-suppressing efficiency, and since bromine is the element in Halon 1301 that destroys ozone, the work signaled that the search for alternatives should switch from naturally occurring elements toward development of non-toxic synthetic substances. Dr. Seshadri can speak about many combustion related topics, including using fire to eliminate biochemical warfare agents.
Professor Seshadri received his BE degree from Coimbatore Institute of Technology (India) in 1970, his MS degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1973, and his PhD degree from the University of California, San Diego in 1977. After completing his PhD he was a postdoctoral research staff member at Yale University, member of the technical staff at TRW, and assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Southern California. He joined the UCSD faculty in 1982.