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Dr. Bret Windom


Dr. Windom attended the University of Florida where he received his Bachelors, Masters, and PhD degrees in Mechanical Engineering.  For his graduate work, he studied under Dr. David Hahn in a laser based diagnostic laboratory.  There, he developed advanced diagnostics techniques to investigate a number of fundamental and applied engineering topics.  Bret's PhD dissertation investigated fundamental problems in tribological systems using optical diagnotsic techniques.  More specifically, Raman spectroscopy to characterize oxidation tendencies of molybdenum disuphihide, a solid lubricant used in many applications, and atomic emission spectroscopy (AES) applied to measure constituent species present in arcs to better understand their role in the wear of electrical sliding contacts.  As a side project, Bret performed fundamental research to better understand the physical processes associated with the interactions of laser-induced plasmas and aerosol particles to advance laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) as a comtemporary anayltical tool. 

Following graduation in 2009, Bret was awarded a National research Council fellowship which he is currently fulfilling at the National Institute of Standards and Technology under Dr. Thomas Bruno.  Currently, Bret is working on measuring and characterizing the volatility properties of fuels, including diesel, biodiesel, rocket, and aviation fuels.  Specifically, Bret has helped design a new advanced distillation curve apparatus that precisely measures distillation curves of complex fluid mixtures at a controlled reduced pressure.  This is expected to by highly useful in the characterization of fuels/complex fluids that undergo molecular modifications as a result of their high boiling temperatures (e.g. biodiesel fuels and crude oils).  It is anticipated that this type of measurement will aid in predicting/modeling properties of such fluids.  In his free time Bret enjoys playing his guitar and is an avid fan of the Florida Gators' various athletic teams.

Research Interests:

Alternative Fuel Characterization

Currently, Bret's research projects are involved with investigating and advancing volatility measurements of hydrocarbons/petrochemicals.  He has designed a new apparatus and method to precisely measure complex fluid volatilities at reduced pressure called the reduced pressure advanced distillation curve (RP-ADC) apparatus.  Using the new apparatus and method coupled with GC-MS, temperature degradation effects of crude oils and biodiesel fuels have been investigated.

Using the atmospheric advanced distillation curve method Bret has analyzed the vapor liquid equilibrium variability of rocket propellants, investigated the volatility properties of biodiesel fuels produced from many different feedstocks, compared volatility properties and energy content of newly developed unleaded aviation fuels to traditional leaded blends, and investigated diesel fuel oxygenates and their effect on fuel properties.

Windom, B.C., Lovestead, T.M., Mascal, M. Nikitin, E.B., Bruno, T.J., Advanced distillation curve analysis on ethyl levulinate as a diesel fuel oxygenate and a hybrid biodiesel fuel, Energy & Fuels, 1878-1890, 2011

Lovestead, T.M., Windom, B.C., Riggs, J.R., Nickell, C., Bruno, T.J., Assessment of the compositional variability of RP-1 and RP-2 with the advanced distillation curve approach, Energy & Fuels, 24, 5611-5623, 2010.

Windom, B.C., Lovestead, T.M., Bruno, T.J., Application of the advanced distillation curve to the development of unleaded aviation gasoline, Energy & Fuels, 24, 3275-3284, 2010.

Bruno, T.J., Windom, B.C., Method and apparatus for the thermal stress of complex fluids: application to fuels, Energy & Fuels, in press.

Low Pressure Sampling

Extended from the work focused on the reduced pressure advanced distillation curve (RP-ADC) apparatus, a novel reduced pressure-balance syringe was designed and built allowing one to sample from an environment that is at reduced pressure.  Motivated by the need to withdraw distillate fractions from the RP-ADC (which may be at a reduced pressure as low as 0.1 kPa), the reduced pressure balance syringe uses an external vacuum source to create the pressure differential required to pull fluids from the RP-ADC.

Windom, B.C., Bruno, T.J., Improvements in the measurement of distillation curves. 5. reduced pressure advanced distillation curve method, Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. , 50, 1115-1126, 2011

Windom, B.C., Bruno, T.J. Novel reduced pressure balanced syringe for chromatographic analysis, J. Chromatogr., 1217 (47), 7434-7439, 2010.

Dr. Bret Windom

Awards and Honors: Elsevier Science prize for the poster presentation at 2006 LIBS conference, Montreal, Canada, Sept. 2006


B.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 2004, Cum Laude

M.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 2006, Cum Laude
Advisor: Dr. David Hahn
Thesis topic: Implementation of aerodynamic focusing and a dual-pulse configuration to improve laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy aerosol particle sampling rates and analyte response.

PhD., Mechanical Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 2004 Cum Laude
Dissertation topic: Optical diagnostic techniques in tribological analysis: applications to wear film characterization, solid lubricant chemical transition, and electrical sliding contacts.

Professional Service:

National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Thermophysical Properties Division
Boulder, CO
Advisor: Dr. Thomas Bruno


Thermophysical Properties Division
Boulder, CO 80305
Office 303-497-5026
Fax 303-497-5044