Department of Engineering / Profiles / Mr James Massey

Department of Engineering

Mr James Massey


James Massey

Research Student

Academic Division: Energy, Fluid Mechanics and Turbomachinery

Research group: Energy


Research interests

Emissions from aircraft engines are a major source of greenhouse gases and release high levels of NOx gases into the atmosphere from the current rich burn systems. Since there is a heavy push from emission regulations to reduce NOx, there is a huge need to move towards lean burn combustion. It is well known that lean premixed combustion can deliver very low levels of NOx. However, this combustion is known to be highly unstable and can result in the occurrence of flame extinction, which may lead to flame blow-off. This is detrimental to combustion systems and must be avoided.

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is widely used for turbulent combustion modelling and is relied on for the design of industrial combustors today. Large Eddy Simulation (LES) is a powerful emerging methodology for CFD due to its capability of handling full-scale complex geometries and the ability to capture the unsteady phenomena in turbulent combustion, including flame extinction and blow-off. The use of flamelet based models for capturing the interaction of turbulence and combustion are used to reduce the computational cost for LES and are widely used in CFD codes today.

Research projects

Large Eddy Simulations of Premixed and Partially Premixed Flame Blow-off

Teaching activity

  • 2P4: Thermofluid Mechanics - supervisor for Robinson College
  • 3A5: Thermodynamics and Power Generation - supervisor for various colleges


I am currently in the third year of my PhD under the supervision of Prof. Swaminathan in the energy group of Division A. The research is in the field of turbulent combustion modelling using LES with the aim to predict flame blow-off in premixed and partially premixed systems using fuel-lean combustion. This research has industrial interest for aero-engine and gas turbine combustors and is supported by funding from EPSRC and industrial input from Rolls-Royce plc.

PhD Engineering, Division A (Energy), Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, UK. 2015 - Present
MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering, The University of Manchester, UK. Classification: 1. 2011-2015


  • Massey, J. C., Langella, I. and Swaminathan, N. (2018). A scaling law for the recirculation zone length behind a bluff body in reacting flows, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, (under review).
  • Massey, J. C., Chen, Z. X. and Swaminathan, N. (2018). Lean Flame Root Dynamics in a Gas Turbine Model Combustor, Combustion Science and Technology, (in press).


  • Massey, J. C., Chen, Z. X. and Swaminathan, N. (2018). Large Eddy Simulation of a Swirl Stabilised Partially Premixed Flame Close to Blow-off, 37th International Symposium on Combustion, Dublin, Ireland.
  • Massey, J. C., Langella, I. and Swaminathan, N. (2017). Large Eddy Simulation of Bluff Body Stabilised Premixed Flames using Flamelets, Tenth Mediterranean Combustion Symposium, Naples, Italy.
  • Massey, J. C., Langella, I. and Swaminathan, N. (2017). Recirculation Zone Attributes in Bluff Body Stabilised Premixed Flames, The Sixth International Education Forum on Environment and Energy Science, Tenerife, Spain.
  • Massey, J. C., Langella, I. and Swaminathan, N. (2016). Influences of Turbulence, Premixed Combustion and Geometry on the Recirculation Zone behind a Bluff Body, The Fifth International Education Forum on Environment and Energy Science, San Diego, USA.