University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota: Department of Mechanical Engineering


Joachim Heberlein (1939-2014)

Professor Emeritus
In memoriam


Ph.D. 1975, Mechanical Engineering, University of Minnesota
Dipl. Physics 1966, Stuttgart Technical University, Germany



My research interests are in the general areas of plasma technology, in particular arc-electrode effects, arc instabilities, plasma boundary layers and plasma chemical reactions. The extreme conditions at the interfaces of a high temperature plasma with a solid or cold gas are characterized by very steep gradients of temperatures and densities, resulting in instabilities, and temperature and composition non-equilibrium. Characterization of these boundary layers is a challenge for the experimentalist and for the modeler. We are using a variety of diagnostics, including emission spectroscopy with high time resolution, laser spectroscopy and various probe techniques in combination with 3-D fluid dynamic and plasma dynamic modeling. Understanding and control of the physical and chemical processes in these boundary layers will have an impact on a wide range of industrial applications, including thermal spray and other plasma based coating technologies, plasma cutting and plasma waste destruction. Development of sensors for spray process control is one example of our recent results.


High Temperature and Plasma Laboratory