Steven F. Son

Steven Son

Alfred J. McAllister Professor of Mechanical Engineering

School of Mechanical Engineering
Purdue University
585 Purdue Mall
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2088

Office: CHAF 130

Phone: 7654948208
FAX: +1 765 494 0539



  • B.S. Brigham Young, '89
  • M.S. Brigham Young, '89
  • Ph.D. University of Illinois, '93

Research Interests

  • Multiphase combustion, particularly related to propellants, explosives, and pyrotechnics
  • Nanoscale composite energetic materials
  • Advanced energetic materials
  • Microscale combustion

Awards and Recognitions

  • Named Purdue Faculty Scholar, 2010–15
  • Paper selected as Editor’s Suggested Article for “Microstructural transformations and kinetics of high-temperature heterogeneous gasless reactions by high-speed x-ray phase-contrast imaging,” Physical Review B, Vol.80, iss.22, p. 224103, 2009.
  • Purdue’s Seed for Success Award (Acorn Awards) (2009).
  • Distinguished Paper Award in Colloquium Detonations, Explosions and Supersonic Combustion at the Thirty-first International Symposium on Combustion (2007).
  • R&D 100 Award Winner, “A Metal-Nanofoam Fabrication Technique: nanoFOAM” (2005)
  • Empire Who’s Who Among Executives and Professionals, 2005/2006. Who’s Who in Engineering Education (2007). Presidential Who’s Who (2009). Strathmore's Who’s Who (2009).
  • LAAP Achievement Award (Program Development), LANL (2004)
  • R&D 100 Award Winner, “Super-Thermite Electric Matches” (2003)
  • Appreciation Award (Firing Site Technician Apprentice Program), LANL (2003)
  • LAAP Achievement Award (Student Mentoring), LANL (2003)
  • LAAP Achievement Award (Program Development), LANL (2003)
  • LAAP Achievement Award (Technical Contributions), LANL (2002)
  • R&D 100 Entry, “Dynamic Crystalline Phase Detection (DCPD)” (2000)
  • LAAP Achievement Award (Technical Contributions), LANL (2000)
  • J. Robert Oppenheimer (JRO) Research Fellow, Los Alamos National Laboratory, which is the most distinguished award given to young researchers at Los Alamos and is awarded yearly to a maximum of two recipients (1993-1996)
  • Named to An Incomplete List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students for the Spring Semester of 1993 in the Daily Illini
  • Alumni Board Teaching Fellowship (1993)
  • General Electric Foundation Teaching Incentive Grant (1992)
  • Fellow, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department (1990-1993)
  • Sigma Xi Outstanding Masters Thesis from the College of Engineering (1989)
  • Outstanding Mechanical Engineering Graduate (1989)
  • Advanced Combustion Engineering Research Center (ACERC) Undergraduate Scholarship (1988)
  • Department and College Academic Scholarships (1985-1987)
  • BYU Presidential Scholarship (1983; 1985-1987)

Selected Publications

M. A. Pfeil, J. D. Dennis, S. F. Son, S. D. Heister, T. L. Pourpoint, and P. V. Ramachandran, "Characterization of Ethylenediamine Bisborane as a Hypergolic Hybrid Rocket Fuel Additive," Journal of Propulsion and Power, Vol. 31(1) pp. 365-372 (2015).

R. R. Nellums, S. F. Son, and L. J. Groven, "Preparation and Characterization of Aqueous Nanothermite Inks for Direct Deposition on SCB Initiators," Propellants, Explosives, and Pyrotechnics, 39 (3), pp. 463-470 (2014).

K. Y. Cho, A. Satija, T. L. Pourpoint, S. F. Son, and R. P. Lucht, "High-Repetition-Rate Three-Dimensional OH Imaging Using Scanned Planar Laser-Induced Fluorescence System for Multiphase Combustion," Applied Optics, Vol. 53(3), pp. 316-326 (2014).

S. Isert, L. J. Groven, R. P. Lucht, and S. F. Son, "The Effect of Encapsulated Nanosized Catalysts on the Combustion of Composite Solid Propellants,"Combustion and Flame, Online version available (2014).

R. S. Janesheski, L. J. Groven and S. F. Son, "Detonation Failure Characterization of Homemade Explosives," Propellants, Explosives, and Pyrotechnics, 39 (4), pp. 609-616 (2014)

J. O. Mares, J. K. Miller, I. E. Gunduz, J. F. Rhoads, and S. F. Son, "Heat Generation in an Elastic Binder System with Embedded Discrete Energetic Particles due to High-Frequency, Periodic Mechanical Excitation," Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 116 (20), p. 204902 (2014).

S. F. Son, A. J. Zakrajsek, E. J. Miklaszewski, J. L. Wagner, and D. R. Guildenbecher, "Experimental Investigation of Blast Mitigation for Target Protection," (Book Chapter) in Blast Mitigation: Experimental and Numerical Studies, A. Shukla, et al. Eds., (2014).

M. E. Daily, B. B. Glover, S. F. Son, and L. J. Groven, "X‐Band Microwave Properties and Ignition Predictions of Neat Explosives," Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics, Vol. 38(6), pp. 810-817 (2013).

C. D. Yarrington, L. J. Groven, R. V. Reeves, S. F. Son, "The Effect of Doping on the Combustion and Reaction Kinetics of Silicon Reactives," Combustion and Flame, Vol 160(9), pp. 1835–1841 (2013).

R. A. Yetter, G. A. Risha, and S. F. Son, "Metal Particle Combustion and Nanotechnology," Proceedings of the Combustion Institute, Vol. 32, pt.2, p.1819-1838, 2009.