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UCL Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Sciences


Joined UCL: November 2014

Sunny Emmanuel

  • PhD Researcher
  • UCL Mechanical Engineering

Contact Sunny Emmanuel

Research Area

Application of Laser Ignition in Marine and Aero Gas Combustors

Research Outline

Based on the current effort to meet tightening emission laws, future gas engines are designed to operate under higher compression ratios and leaner fuel-air ratios. To reliably ignite the gas fuel-air mixture under such conditions, a new ignition concept is required since current spark plug has already reached its borders due to many reliability issues. Laser ignition has many potential advantages which makes it a viable replacement for spark plugs, but it is yet to be implemented in these combustors due to limited knowledge of its combustion and impact. My current project focuses on understanding the dynamics of a laser-ignited flame at the early development stage, its interaction with the flow field of varying gas composition and how this interaction leads to a stable or unstable flame.


I had my bachelor’s (B.Eng) in 2006 from the Rivers State University (Nigeria) after which I went for a compulsory one-year National Service where I worked as a Teacher of Mathematics and Engineering Drawing in a secondary school. At the end of the one-year National service, I moved to University College London (UCL) where I obtained an MSc Mechanical engineering in 2009. Before starting my PhD, I worked as a Planner in oil and gas construction projects for two years where I was responsible for preparing the project planning documentation from the bid stage to the work execution stage. As part of the project control team, I planned the fabrication, delivery and installation of Deep Foundation piles used in the Southern Swamp Associated Gas Solutions (SSAGS) project. Also, I had the privilege of working in other engineering projects such as thermal insulation of gas pipelines in the Escravos EGP-3 project and Re-tubing of Boiler 70B03 at Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC). In 2014, I returned to UCL to pursue a research degree in combustion and flame testing of gaseous fuels using laser ignition concept. This project is sponsored by Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Nigeria. While doing my PhD, I have been working as a Post Graduate Teaching Assistant (PGTA) both with the faculty and the department.

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