Fletcher J. Miller
1988 Ph.D. - Mechanical
Engineering, University of California at
Berkeley, Major: Heat Transfer/Thermodynamics;
Minors: Fluid Dynamics, Mathematics. Ph.D.
Dissertation: An Experimental and Theoretical
Study of Heat Transfer in a Gas-Particle Flow
Under Direct Radiant Heating.
M.S. - Mechanical Engineering, University of
California at Berkeley, Master’s Project: An
investigation into the use of a gas-particle
suspension as a solar absorption medium.
B.S. - Mechanical Engineering, Columbia
Professor, San Diego State University, Department of
Mechanical Engineering. 8/07 – Present
Founder of the Solar Thermal Applications and
Research (STAR) Laboratory at San Diego State.
Responsible for the graduate and undergraduate heat
transfer curriculum in the mechanical engineering
department. Current grant topics include the small
particle solar receiver, spacecraft fire safety, and
the effect of Santa Ana winds on wildfires.
Research Professor, Case Western Reserve
University (CWRU) 1/07 – 8/07
Principal Researcher, National Center for Space
Exploration Research (formerly National Center for
Microgravity Research) (CWRU employee) 9/97-8/07
Team Lead for Fire Prevention under the Fire
Prevention, Detection, and Suppression Program at
NASA. The six-person team evaluated and developed
material flammability research plans and new
screening tests for NASA in support of the planned
Lunar and Martian missions.
Concurrently, Miller was a funded investigator on
other projects and served as Flight Facility
Scientist, Flight Project Scientist, and technical
monitor on several projects in the NASA Microgravity
Program (see lists later in document). Personal
research included conducting normal and microgravity
experiments and modeling of the combustion of
non-homogeneous stratified mixtures, single solid
particle combustion, and gas jet microcombustion
(both catalytic and non-catalytic).
Researcher, Case Western Reserve University
(title of Sr. Research Associate from 3/91 to 3/95)
(resident at GRC in the Microgravity Combustion
Major activity during this period was as
Co-Investigator on Spread Across Liquids (SAL), the
first microgravity combustion experiment in the
world to fly aboard a sounding rocket. The project
involved studying flame spread over liquid pools in
both normal and microgravity. I was responsible for
scientific diagnostics including Particle Image
Velocimetry, Rainbow Schlieren Deflectometry,
infrared thermography, and data visualization and
computer animation of computational results.
Principal interface with the engineering team to
assure science requirements were met, and to assist
with drawing review, and hardware design,
development and testing. During this time, he also
was a technical monitor on two ground-based grants,
and mentored numerous students on the project.
Guest Scientist, Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für
Luft- und Raumfahrt (Germany) 1988-1990
Thermal and optical measurements in high-temperature
particle-laden flows. Design and testing of a
laboratory-scale high-temperature, small-particle,
direct absorption solar receiver. Development of a
3-D code for calculating radiative flux and
temperature profiles in flowing, oxidizing,
participating media. Numerical modeling of carbon
particle oxidation under direct radiant heating.
Graduate Research Assistant, Lawrence Berkeley
Research on advanced high-temperature solar energy
projects including gas-particle suspensions, molten
salt, fuel and chemical production, and energy
storage. Experimental and theoretical light
scattering in particle suspensions and aerogel. This
additional work was conducted concurrent with Ph.D.
TEACHING, AND MENTORING EXPERIENCE
Professor, San Diego State University (graduate
courses in Conduction, Convection, and Radiation
Heat Transfer; undergraduate heat transfer)
Adjunct Professor, University of Akron (to serve on
Ph.D. Dissertation Committee)
Instructor, Dept. of Mechanical and Aerospace
Engineering, Case Western Reserve University;
Advanced Heat Transfer (Masters-level) Spring
Ph.D. - Michael Kulis, Spring 2008,
University of Akron. “A Diode Laser Diagnostic for
Concentration Measurements in Layered Systems During
Peter Struk, Nov. 2006, Case Western Reserve
University. “Modeling of Catalytic Channels and
Masters - Marcos Villa-Gonzalez, Rowan
University, 2006. Marcos spent 7 months at NASA in
Dr. Miller's lab working on the flame spread in
Fred Hovermann, Rowan University, 2004. Fred spent 8
months at NASA in Dr. Miller's lab working full time
on the flame spread in non-homogeneous mixtures.
David Pantano, University of Virginia, 1999. David
spent 12 months at NASA working full time on single
carbon particle oxidation.
Lori DiMauro, Case Western Reserve University, 1998.
Lori spent 9 months working full time in Dr.
Miller's lab on flame spread over flammable liquids.
Ed White, Case Western Reserve University, 1997. Ed
spent 8 months working full time in Dr. Miller's lab
on flame spread in non-homogeneous gas mixtures.
In addition to these committees, served in a mentor
or advising role for four students from Michigan
State University as part collaboration with Prof.
Indrek Wichman, and for one student from the
University of Virginia as part of a project with
Prof. Harsha Chelliah.
Undergrad Undergraduate student mentor
of record for forty-five undergraduate students and
one high school student in the last 16 years. These
include summer interns that worked full time for 10
to 14 weeks in my laboratory, as well as Case
students completing course requirements in either
their “Scientific Measurements” course, or their
Senior Project. In these instances, was responsible
for providing the student grade. Also supervised
three full time co-op students.
DESIGN AND RESEARCH
Significant normal gravity design and research
interferometry to obtain concentrations in
(1000 f/s) video cameras for flame spread and
Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV)
- Liquid-phase PIV systems (currently beginning
gas-phase work) - established (with others)
innovative image processing methods to improve
flow visualization; awarded NASA Tech Brief
- CO2 laser
ignition of single carbon particles
- Spectroscopic measurements of oxidizing carbon
particles to obtain temperature
- Liquid and
gas-phase Rainbow Schlieren Deflectometry
(including rainbow filter generation)
- Established (with others) new rainbow filter
types to improve visualization
flow duct construction and characterization (hot
wire anemometry smoke flow visualization, and
flow visualization, both in cold-flow and during
flame spread (first application of smoke wire
method to flame spread problems)
video cameras for condensed phase temperature
- Hands-on experience
with many laboratory tools and instruments including
fine gauge thermocouples, thermistors, data
acquisition systems, flow meters, lasers (IR and
visible diode, HeNe, pulsed Nd-YAG, CO2), imaging
and beam-forming optics, optical hardware, video
acquisition boards, fiber optics, fuel flashpoint
test apparatus, high-energy arc lamps, electron and
optical microscopes, nephelometer, oscilloscopes,
- Good working knowledge of major machine tools such
as the drill press, shear, mill, etc., and machining
techniques and mechanical drawings.
Direct experience with microgravity experiments and
- 2.2 s Drop
- KC-135 and
DC-9 Reduced Gravity Aircraft
rockets (6 launches from White Sands Missile
Fluent FORTRAN and BASIC programmer, and some
knowledge of C. Unix, DOS, and Macintosh literate.
Have experience writing and running programs on PCs,
Unix workstations, and NASA Supercomputer systems.
Conversant with several specialized programs for
data visualization and analysis such as Transform,
SVP (for time-dependent animations), Thermogram (for
infrared analysis), PIV software, flame tracking
software, etc. Significant experience with computer
animation of 3-D numerical predictions for direct
comparison to full-field experimental measurements.
“Radiometry,” a 3-unit college graduate course
presented via distance learning by the University of
Arizona. Jan. 1999 to May 1999. Taken for credit,
awarded an A.
“Digital Image Processing,” a four-day course taught
by Kodak August 1998.
“Combustion Science Lecture Series Short Courses”,
Fall 1997 – Spring 1998
“Experimental Flow Visualization,” Univ. of
Michigan, August 1991.