Chakrabarty awarded NSF grant to study wildfire smoke up close

Rajan Chakrabarty, assistant professor of energy, environmental and chemical engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering, received a $410,856 grant from the National Science Foundation for, as he describes it, "three weeks of intense wildfire-smoke science."

Chakrabarty and his research group are participating in Fire Influence on Regional to Global Environments and Air Quality (FIREX-AQ), a large-scale investigation into the properties and consequences of emissions from large fires. NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and various research groups, including more than 40 universities from the U.S. and abroad, are involved.

Chakrabarty's research group has built specialty equipment from scratch. The equipment is traveling by van this month to Idaho, where researchers will use it to study in real time the smoke characteristics from ongoing wildfires. The data will help Chakrabarty's lab understand the differences and similarities between experiments in the lab and conditions in the real world.