Sadaf Sobhani

Sadaf Sobhani

Assistant Professor
Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
371 Upson Hall


Dr. Sobhani received her doctorate degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, where she also completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Her dissertation focused on volume-averaged and pore-scale simulations of combustion in porous materials as well as non-intrusive x-ray diagnostics development. During her PhD, she worked as a research associate at the NASA Ames Research Center, where she combined high-fidelity simulations with x-ray tomography to study radiative heat transfer in thermal protection fibrous materials. She later joined the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as a postdoctoral researcher in the simulation and modeling of electrochemical systems for carbon conversion. After a decade of studying and working in the bay area, she moved across the country to join the faculty at the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Research Interests

Dr. Sobhani’s research activities focus on thermal management and energy conversion with the goal of impacting innovations in high-efficiency, low-emission, and robust energy systems. Her work includes the computational and experimental investigation of flow, heat transfer and chemical reactions in porous media. Leveraging the connection between the micro-scale features and macro-scale transport properties, her lab researches rigorous pathways to apply topology optimization techniques combined with additive manufacturing and non-intrusive diagnostics to design, fabricate and analyze tailored porous structures in combustion, electrochemistry, and other complex flow systems.

Selected Publications

Sobhani, S., Legg, J., Bartz, D., Sullivan, J., Kojima, J., Moder, J., Ihme M. (2019). Experimental investigation of lean premixed pre-vaporized liquid-fuel combustion in porous media burners at elevated pressures up to 20 bar. Combustion and Flame.

Sobhani, S., Mohaddes, D., Boigne, E., Muhunthan, P., & Ihme, M. (2019). Modulation of heat transfer for extended flame stabilization in porous media burners via topology gradation. Proceedings of the Combustion Institute, 37(4), 5697-5704.

Dunnmon, J., Sobhani, S., Wu, M., Fahrig, R., & Ihme, M. (2017). An investigation of internal flame structure in porous media combustion via X-ray Computed Tomography. Proceedings of the Combustion Institute, 36(3), 4399-4408.

Sobhani, S., Haley, B., Bartz, D., Dunnmon, J., Sullivan, J., & Ihme, M. (2017, June). Investigation of lean combustion stability, pressure drop, and material durability in porous media burners. In ASME Turbo Expo 2017: Turbomachinery Technical Conference and Exposition.

Dunnmon, J., Sobhani, S., Kim, T. W., Kovscek, A., & Ihme, M. (2015). Characterization of scalar mixing in dense gaseous jets using X-ray computed tomography. Experiments in Fluids, 56(10), 193.


Selected Awards and Honors

American Physical Society, Gallery of Fluid Motion Award 2018

Stanford Technology Ventures Program, Accel Innovation Scholarship, 2017

Haas Center for Public Service, Graduate Public Service Fellowship, 2016

Haas Center for Public Service, Schneider/MAP Sustainable Energy Fellowship, 2016

National Science Foundation, Graduate Research Fellowship 2015


B.S. (Mechanical Engineering), Stanford University, 2014.

M.S. (Mechanical Engineering), Stanford University, 2015.

Ph.D. (Mechanical Engineering), Stanford University, 2019.


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