Joseph Shepherd | AIChE

Joseph Shepherd

C. L. “Kelly” Johnson Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Mechanical Engineering
California Institute of Technology

Joseph Shepherd is the C. L. “Kelly” Johnson Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA. He has been on the faculty at Caltech since 1993 and he served on the faculty of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute from 1986 to 1993. Prior to that, he was a staff member at Sandia National Laboratories from 1980 to 1986. He earned his PhD in Applied Physics from Caltech in 1981, and his BS in Physics from the University of South Florida in 1976.

Prof. Shepherd’s research interests include: fluid dynamics; combustion; high-speed flows; shock and detonation waves; the mechanics of impact and structural response; explosion hazards and safety assessment for aviation, chemical, and nuclear industries; medical devices.

His work on risk assessment, explosion analysis and hazard mitigation includes investigating hydrogen explosion hazard issues arising from the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island; the in-flight breakup of Flight 800; explosion hazards in petrochemical plants; nuclear waste storage and treatment facilities at the Savannah River and Hanford sites; and, the 2011 events at Fukushima Daiichii.

Current research projects include experiments and modeling on thermal ignition hazards in flammable atmospheres within aircraft, ignition of combustible gases due to pressure transients in nuclear power plant piping, the mechanics of rotating detonation engines, and autoinjectors for viscous drug solutions.