Award Lecture Combustion Synthesis of Advanced Materials


  • Arvind Varma University of Notre Dame


The Chemical Engineering Division, ASEE, Union Carbide Lectureship Award winner for 2000.

Combustion synthesis is an attractive technique to synthesize a variety of advanced materials.  It is based on the concept that once initiated locally by means of a thermal source of short-term service, highly exothermic reactions can become self-sustaining in the form of a combustion wave and yield the final product progressively without requiring additional heat.  Our investigations of combustion synthesis are directed toward an understanding of the mechanisms involved in the synthesis of materials.  This understanding is essential to synthesize advanced materials with tailored microstructure and properties. A variety of complementary approaches are used to investigate the mechanisms of reaction and product structure formation.  Examples of systems studied include intermetallics, ceramics, and intermetallic-ceramic composites.

Author Biography

Arvind Varma, University of Notre Dame

Arvind Varma is the Arthur J. Schmitt Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. A native of India, he received his PhD degree from the University of Minnesota in 1972 and remained there for one year as an assistant professor. He was a senior research engineer with Union Carbide Corporation for two years before joining the Notre Dame faculty in 1975, where he achieved the rank of Professor in 1980 and his current Schmitt Chair position in 1988.

Dr. Varma's research interests are in chemical and catalytic reaction engineering, and synthesis of advanced materials. He has published over 200 research papers in these areas and coauthored three books: Mathematical Methods in Chemical Engineering (Oxford University Press, J 997), Parametric Sensitivity in Chemical Systems (Cambridge University Press, 1999), and Catalyst Design: Optimal Distribution of Catalyst in Pellets, Reactors, and Membranes (Cambridge Uni versity Press, 200 I ).

He is also the founding Editor (1996-present) of the Cambridge Series in Chemical Engineering, a series of textbooks and monographs published by Cambridge University Press.

Varma served as Department Chair at Notre Dame during the period from 1982 to 1988. He has served as Visiting Professor at a number of institutions, including the University of Wisconsin, Caltech, and Princeton. He has received several awards for his teaching and research activities, including the R.H. Wilhelm Award (1993) of the AIChE.