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Elizabeth M. Fisher

  • Elizabeth M. Fisher
  • Dept: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
  • Title: Associate Professor
  • Address: 315 Upson Hall
  • Phone: 607 255-8309
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Professor Fisher served as president of the Yale chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society in her senior year, and was graduated summa cum laude in physics. She then worked at the Thermal Sciences Branch of the Solar Energy Research Institute in Golden, Colorado, for several years. In 1991 she joined the faculty and was named to a five-year Clare Boothe Luce Professorship. She received the Teetor Award from the Society of Automotive Engineers in 1995 and the Dennis G. Shepherd Memorial Teaching Prize in 1997 and the Dorothy Swanson Teaching Award in 2012. She is a Fellow of the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future and is a member of the Combustion Institute, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the American Society of Engineering Education.

Research Interests

I use bench-scale experiments to investigate the combustion chemistry of various practical systems. My focus is on understanding the chemical kinetic mechanisms relevant to the formation of desired products as well as pollutants. Applications include: biomass combustion and pyrolysis to produce fuels, biochar, and heat; flame inhibition; combustion of practical liquid fuels including biodiesel and jet fuel; oxycombustion for carbon sequestration; incineration of hazardous wastes and chemical warfare agents. Techniques used include: Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), laser-doppler velocimetry (LDV), detailed chemical kinetic modeling.

Teaching Interests

I have taught Introduction to Mechanical Engineering, Thermodynamics, Combustion Engines and Fuel Cells, Fluids/Heat Transfer Laboratory, and Combustion Processes. I encourage active learning, and have made use of problem-based learning in Introduction to Mechanical Engineering. In 2012, I am participating in ASEE virtual community of practice in thermodynamics teaching.


Selected Publications

  • Fisher, Elizabeth M., W. J. Pitz, H. J. Curran, C. K. Westbrook. 2000. "Detailed chemical kinetic mechanisms for combustion of oxygenated fuel." Proceedings of the Combustion Institute 28: 1579-1586.
  • Zheng, X., Elizabeth M. Fisher, Frederick Gouldin, L. Zhu, J W Bozzelli. 2009. "Experimental and Computational Study of Diethyl Sulfide Pyrolysis and Mechanism." Proceedings of the Combustion Institute 32 (1): 469-476.
  • Fisher, Elizabeth M., C. Dupont, L. I. Darvell, J.-M Commandre, A. Saddawi, J. M. Jones, M. Grateau, T. Nocquet, S. Salvador. 2012. "Combustion and gasification characteristics of chars from torrefied and raw biomass." Bioresource Technology 119: 157-165.
  • Woolf, D., J. Lehmann, Elizabeth M. Fisher, L T Angenent. 2014. "Biofuels from pyrolysis in perspective: trade-offs between energy yields and soil-carbon additions.." Environmental Science & Technology 48 (11): 6492-6499.
  • Shah, M H., L. Deng, H. Bennadji, Elizabeth M. Fisher. 2015. "Pyrolysis of Potassium-Doped Wood at the Centimeter and Submillimeter Scales." Energy & Fuels 29 (11): 7350-7357.

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Selected Awards and Honors

  • John Swanson '61 ME Teaching Award, in honor of his mother, Dorothy G. Swanson (College of Engineering) 2012
  • McManus Faculty Fellowship 2006
  • Dennis G. Shepherd Memorial Teaching Prize (Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering) 1997
  • Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award (Society of Automotive Engineers) 1996
  • Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professorship 1991


  • BS (Physics (summa cum laude)), Yale University, 1982
  • MS (Engineering Science: Mechanical Engineering), University of California, Berkeley, 1987
  • Ph D (Engineering Science: Mechanical Engineering), University of California, Berkeley, 1990