Krithika Narayanaswamy

Assistant Professor
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Indian Institute of Technology Madras
Thermodynamics and Combustion Engines Lab,
Chennai - 600036
Email: krithika (at) iitm (dot) ac (dot) in

Research Experience
Faculty page
Scholar page
ResearchGate page

Research Team

My research focuses on development of chemical kinetic models to describe oxidation of fuels. I am interested in predicting global combustion characteristics of conventional and alternative fuels and interpreting these observations based on insights gained from molecular level kinetic descriptions. In the recent times, my team has been studying kinetics of oxygenated fuels, which being renewable and resulting in reduced emissions, are immediately relevant to the country's energy needs.

If you are interested in being a part of our team, peruse the problem write-ups posted below to identify your interests and write to me with a subject line that includes the topic title.

  • Kinetics of biodiesel surrogate components:

    One of our recent interests concerns with developing a kinetic scheme for a small ester, which is a potentially important candidate to represent the longer chain molecules in the real biodiesel fuel, namely methylbutanoate. A compact reaction scheme is derived for methylbutanoate from an existing detailed mechanism, revised based on newer experimental measurements and theoretical rate constant calculations, and comprehensively assessed for its component kinetic description. Thereafter, a constrained optimization approach is used to propose a surrogate to represent biodiesel fuel, consisting of methylbutanoate and n-dodecane, and assessed thoroughly (Fig. below). This work serves as our first step towards the development of a compact reaction scheme for a biodiesel surrogate which will be coupled with combustion studies to investigate the use of biodiesels and its blends with diesel in CI engines.

    Fig: Species profiles in a jet stirred reactor at P = 1 bar, phi = 1.5; symbols: experiments for biodiesel, solid lines: Surrogate A, dashed lines: Surrogate B
    (presented at the 10th U.S. National Combustion Meeting, 2017)

    Most of the available studies are on high temperature kinetics of methyl butanoate oxidation, while some differences are noted between existing ones at lower temperatures. We are collaborating with PTB, Germany to investigate this aspect using Rapid Compression Machines, through which ignition delays of methylbutanoate at the low and intermediate temperatures (T<1000 K), have been measured. Our present work focuses on with developing a kinetic model for methylbutanoate to explain these experimental observations in addition to the ones already in literature.

Aditya Dilip Lele

Aditya obtained his B. Tech in Mechanical Engineering from Vishwakarma Institute of Technology, Pune in 2015. He is currently pursuing his Masters at IIT Madras, on the broad topic of kinetic modeling and combustion simulations of biodiesel fuel. His thesis is co-advised by Dr. K. Anand at IIT Madras.
  • Extinction studies of oxygenated fuels:

    Addition to oxygenates to diesel fuel has been found to reduce soot emissions. Nonetheless, the resulting changes in the extinction and auto-ignition characteristics of the fuel mixture have not yet been fully understood. Considering two important oxygenates, dimethyl ether and methanol, we undertook a fundamental analysis, which reveals that blending small amounts of oxygenates with diesel increases its resistance to extinction, which can be of use in applications such as burners, furnaces and pre-vaporizers. We also find that the auto-ignition characteristics are not altered much due to blending. This study suggests that in the presence of oxygenate, a combustion system can be made more stable even at higher strain rates and at the same time operate with reduced emissions. We are in process of confirming our observations with an experimental study in a counterflow configuration

    Fig: Diesel and blends of diesel and oxygenates: Variation of fuel mass fraction, YF,1, as a function of strain rate at extinction, a2,E
    (presented at the 10th U.S. National Combustion Meeting, 2017)

Rohit Sanjay Khare

Rohit obtained his B. Tech in Mechanical Engineering from Vishwakarma Institute of Technology, Pune in 2015. He is currently pursuing his Masters at IIT Madras. His primary focus is on fundamental studies of extinction strain rates of oxygenated fuels and their blends with conventional fuels. His thesis is co-advised by Dr. V. Raghavan at IIT Madras.

  • Compact kinetic model for methyl methacrylate oxidation:

    Study of kinetics of methylmethacrylate, which is a monomer of PMMA that is used in construction sector, is relevant to fire research. A compact reaction model to describe its oxidation is being developed and validated against fundamental experimental datasets obtained in canonical configurations, which isolate the kinetics from the flow related complexities.

    Fig: Species profiles of Laminar flat flame at atmospheric condition; symbols: experimental data of major species, dashed lines: simulations

Shanmugasundaram D

Shanmugasundaram obtained his B. Tech and in Mechanical Engineering from Pondicherry Engineering College, Puduchery in 2014 and 2016 respectively. He is currently pursuing his PhD at IIT Madras. His project revolves around chemical kinetic modeling and reactive simulations of fuels relevant to fire research, one among them being methylmethacrylate. His thesis is co-advised by Dr. V. Raghavan at IIT Madras.


  • M. C. Sanjay (M. Tech 2017): SMILES based interface to Thermodynamic Property Estimation Using THERM
  • T. V. Vaisakh (M. Tech 2017): Reaction mechanism optimization
  • Kiran Kumar Yalamanchi (Dual Degree 2017)
  • Ankit Jain (Dual Degree 2017)

Journal publications

Conference proceedings

2017 -- Present

  • A. D. Lele, K. Anand, K. Narayanaswamy, "Development of a chemical kinetic mechanism for biodiesel surrogate", 10th U.S. National Combustion Meeting, 2017.

  • R. Khare, V. Raghavan, K. Narayanaswamy, "Study of auto-ignition and extinction characteristics of diesel blended with oxygenates in laminar opposed non-premixed flames", 10th U.S. National Combustion Meeting, 2017.

  • M. Hunyadi-Gall, G. Mairinger, R. Khare, K. Narayanaswamy, V. Raghavan, K. Seshadri, "The Influence of Stoichiometric Mixture Fraction on Extinction of Laminar, Nonpremixed DME Flames", 10th U.S. National Combustion Meeting, 2017.

Open source codes

Available research projects

Write-up coming soon ...
  • Development of kinetic model for Fischer-Tropsch fuels
  • Development of kinetic model for oxygenated fuels (knock-reduction additives)
  • Mechanism optimization framework
  • Methods for mechanism reduction
  • Development of canonical kinetics solvers and post-processing tools
  • Simulation driven surrogate formulation
  • Importance of unsaturated ester representatives in biodiesel surrogates
  • Thermodynamic property estimation for cyclic species
  • Automatic reaction mechanism generation
  • Development of structure based compact reaction models


  • ME6150: Numerical methods in thermal engineering (Jan--May 2016)
  • ME1100: Undergraduate thermodynamics (Jul--Nov 2016)
  • ME6150: Numerical methods in thermal engineering (Jan--May 2017)
  • ME6060: Combustion Fundamentals (Jul--Nov 2017)

Alma mater

Vivekananda Vidyalaya, Perambur
DAV Girls, Gopalapuram
Indian Institute of Technology Madras
Stanford University
Cornell University

Useful web-based tools

Web plot digitizer
Coding ground