Dr. Fortin received her B.A. in Chemistry and Spanish from Wellesley College and her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Colorado. Both her undergraduate and graduate research interests focused on atmospheric chemistry. As an undergraduate, she studied the reaction kinetics of a second-generation replacement for ozone-depleting CFC refrigerants; while in graduate school, her work focused on understanding the role of sulfate aerosol in both cloud formation and tropospheric chemistry. Post graduation, Dr. Fortin’s interests expanded to include energy science and policy, focusing primarily on industrial emissions of Hg, NO, NO2, NOy, and O3 and their impact on air pollution. Her interest in energy science has persisted since joining NIST in 2008 where she makes thermophysical property measurements (density, speed of sound, viscosity, and heat capacity) for industrially-relevant fluids, including both conventional and renewable fuels. She is also active in standards development via the ASTM Committee on Thermal Analysis and NIST Standard Reference Materials.
Thermophysical Property Measurements of Fluids
In recent years, there has been increasing pressure to enhance and extend traditional petroleum sources of fuels. This has led to the consideration of alternative sources such as natural gas and renewable feedstocks produced from biological sources. The production and utilization of these new fuels require an infrastructure of thermophysical property knowledge for use in equipment design and operation. Fundamental to this knowledge base are fluid density, viscosity, speed of sound and heat capacity. Dr. Fortin supervises a laboratory that provides these properties on real fuels, as well as other industrially-relevant working fluids such as lubricants and siloxanes. While the instruments in her laboratory all operate at atmospheric pressure, they have a wide temperature range of operation. This is ideal for measuring the properties needed to produce predictive thermophysical property models that are critical to the successful introduction of new fuels into the U.S. economy.
The Thermophysical Properties of Fluids group has a longstanding tradition of utilizing one-of-a-kind instruments, developed in house, to make highly accurate thermophysical property measurements. Dr. Fortin is currently collaborating with Dr. Mark McLinden to put into operation a high-temperature single-sinker densimeter. The resurrection of this instrument will expand the group’s existing density measurement capabilities to temperatures up to 500 ˚C and pressures to 50 MPa.