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Dr. Kathryn M. Butler

Dr. Kathryn M. Butler is a physicist in the Wildland - Urban Interface Fire Group of the Fire Research Division (FRD) of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Dr. Butler develops computational models to study the behavior of materials in fire and the fit characteristics of respirators for first responders. She is currently modeling the melt flow of thermoplastic materials in a fire, studying the evolution of a burning object from its original shape into a pool fire. She has studied the behavior and effects of bubbles caused by in-depth gasification during burning.

Dr. Butler has used image analysis techniques to characterize the particle content of nanocomposites. For the World Trade Center Investigation, she determined the oscillatory motion of WTC 2 through image analysis of the moiré patterns on video records. She also set up the database for organizing photographs and videotapes and supervised several students during the collection of material.

Before joining NIST in 1993, Dr. Butler studied coherent structures and transient growth in fluid flow for her doctoral thesis, developed graphical user interfaces for fluid dynamics codes at Westinghouse Electric Corporation, and modeled the behavior of ink jet systems for Xerox Corporation. Dr. Butler is a member of the International Association for Fire Safety Science, the National Fire Protection Association, the United States Association of Computational Mechanics, the American Physical Society, and Sigma Xi.

Dr. Kathryn M. Butler


Fire Research Division
Wildland - Urban Interface Fire Group


Harvard University, Ph.D., Applied Physics, 1991

University of Rochester, M.S.,Mechanical Aerospace Science, 1979

Wittenberg College, B.A., Physics, 1977


Phone: 301-975-6673
Email: kathryn.butler@nist.gov