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headshot photo of Peng Zhao

Peng Zhao

Associate Professor


February 2021 - Present
Associate Professor in Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering at UT Space Institute
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

August 2015 - January 2021
Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering
Oakland University, Rochester, MI


Combustion and reacting flow, advanced powertrain and propulsion systems, alternative fuels and chemical kinetics, numerical simulation and computational diagnostics, thermal management and safety of lithium-ion batteries


PhD in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University, 2015
MA in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University, 2011  
BS in Thermal Science and Energy Engineering, USTC, 2009

Professional Service

Member of SAE, ASME, ASEE and the Combustion Institute
Guest editor of a special issue on Advancement of Low Temperature Engine Combustion Strategies in the journal of Frontiers in Mechanical Engineering, 2019-2020.
Invited reviewer for DOE Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) Annual Merit Review (AMR), 2019.
Panelist for NSF Program of Combustion and Fire Systems, 2018.
Session chair of the US CSSCI Technical Conference, Minneapolis, 2018.
Member of the Early Career and Diversity Development Committee of US Section of the Combustion Institute (2017 – present).
Session chair of the US ESSCI Technical Conference, Princeton University, 2016.
Outstanding reviewer by journals including Combustion and Flame, Proceedings of the Combustion Institute, Chemical Engineering Journal, Applied Energy, Fuel, Energy, Applied Thermal Engineering.


Awards and Recognitions

Faculty Recognition for Outstanding Research, Oakland University, 2019.
Rosen Graduate Supervision Fellowship, Oakland University Writing Center, 2019
Bernard Lewis Fellowship, the Combustion Institute, 2018
Faculty Fellowship Award, Oakland University, 2016
Gordon Y.S. Wu Fellowship, Princeton University, 2009-2014
Guo Moruo Scholarship, USTC, 2009


Selected Publications ( * indicates the corresponding author)

Yang, P. Zhao*, “Minimum ignition energy and propagation dynamics of laminar premixed cool flames”, Proc. Combust. Inst., 2020, accepted.

Tao, P. Zhao*, B. VanDerWege, I. Claudia, H. Ge, “Further study on wall film effects and flame quenching under engine thermodynamic conditions”, Combust. Flame, 216, 100-110, 2020.

L. Zhang, P. Zhao*, M. Xu, X. Wang, “Computational identification of the safety regime of Li-ion battery thermal runaway”, Applied Energy, 261, 114440, 2020.

P. Zhao*, S.H. Lam, “Toward computational singular perturbation without eigen-decomposition”, Combust. Flame, 209, 63-73, 2019.

Q. Yang, P. Zhao*, H. Ge, “reactingFoam-SCI: an open source CFD platform for reacting flow simulation”, Computers and Fluids, 290, 114-127, 2019.

M. Tao, P. Zhao*, J. Szybist, P. Lynch, H. Ge, “Insights on autoignition in engines: combining engine thermodynamic trajectory and fuel ignition delay iso-contour”, Combust. Flame, 200, 207-218, 2019.

M. Tao, A. Laich, P. Lynch*, P. Zhao*, “On the interpretation and correlation of high temperature ignition delays in reactors with varying thermodynamic conditions”, Int. J. Chem. Kinet., 50, 410-424, 2018.

M. Tao, P. Zhao*, D. DelVescovo, H. Ge, “Manifestation of octane rating, fuel sensitivity, and composition effects for gasoline surrogates under advanced compression ignition conditions”, Combust. Flame, 192, 238-249, 2018.

Zhao, W. Liang, S. Deng, C. K. Law*, “Initiation and propagation of laminar premixed cool flames”, Fuel, 166, 477-487, 2016.

Zhao, S.Nackman, C.K. Law*, “On the application of betweenness centrality in chemicalnetwork analysis: computational diagnostics and model reduction”, Combust. Flame, 162 (8), 2991-2998, 2015.

Full list available at Google Scholar:


headshot photo of Peng Zhao

Contact Information

  • UTSI, Frank G. Clement Academic and Administration Building, UT Space Institute
  • E-mail: