Recommended Reading

Being a know-it-all, people often ask Kyle where he gets his information. To answer that question he put together this list of recommended reading. Two words of warning: First, these sources are mostly long and boring texts. Second, just because a piece of source material is peer reviewed and published does not make it trustworthy. Always use your own judgement when evaluating claims rather than taking published word for granted.

Mechanical Design

Shigley’s Mechanical Engineering Design – R. Budynas

Shigley’s is a fantastic resource for leaning the basics of mechanical design, from bolts to gears to shafts. Not all forms of mechanical systems are covered, requiring additional reading, but this is a good place to start.

Machinery’s Handbook – Industrial Press

Also known as the Machinist’s Handbook, Machinery’s Handbook is required reading for any machinist, mechanical engineer, or design engineer. While theory is only glossed over, this is the standard reference for everything from gasket design and crush rates to interference fitment. If you do not have this text, get it. Now.

Fluid Dynamics

Fundamentals of Fluid Mechanics – B. Munson et al

This is an introductory text, plain and simple. This text provides a solid introduction to general fluid mechanics, specifically for non-compressible flow. It is highly likely that you will read this in an undergraduate fluids course.

Atomization and Sprays – A. Lefebvre, V. McDonell

The name Arthur Lefebvre is legendary in the spray mechanics community, and this is the defining text in the field. Before reading this ensure that you have a good understanding of potential flows and invisid analysis to fully absorb the presented topics. If you do any work in the liquid-fueled combustion or spray mechanics fields, it is mandatory that you read this text. Note here that when people refer to ‘The Lefebvre book’ they are usually referring to this text and not his Gas Turbine Combustion.


Fundamentals of Engineering Thermodyamics – M. Moran et al

Referred to as the Moran and Shapiro book, this text provides a fantastic introduction to classical thermodynamics. This text has been used for quite some time for the UConn Thermo I/II courses in the ME program, and for good reason. There isn’t much reason to look further for classical thermodynamics learning, with the next move being statistical thermodynamics.

An Introduction to Computational Fluid Dyanamics: The Finite Volume Method – H. Versteeg, W. Malalasekera

While true CFD nerds (yes, you heard me!) will likely laugh at the mention of this introductory book, as someone who only ‘plays’ in the world of CFD this was a highly useful text. If you are looking for the basics of the underlying methods utilized by CFD solvers, this is a good place to start. Do not expect a step-by-step education in the running of FLUENT, Converge, or OpenFOAM. For that type of learning refer to their respective user and theory manuals, and then despair at the fact that most of your learning will still be trial and error.

Materials Science

Fundamentals of Materials Science and Engineering: An Integrated Approach – W. Callister, D. Rethwisch

This is a basic materials science text with a heavy emphasis on ferric metals/alloys. Highly suggested as an introductory text, or to give a general understanding for an individual who does not deal with materials work in their daily life.

Intro to Nanotechnology, Nanoscale Transport Phenomena – G. Chen

Chen has been quoted stating that he wrote this text specifically so that he would never have to teach an introductory nanoscale transport course again, and he pretty well succeeded. This text provides enough supporting material to guide non-MS or physics students, such as combustion and fluids guys like me, though the basics of material science, through general transport theory, and into the wonderful world of graphene. Additionally, supplemental materials are available on Chen’s MIT site. This text is highly recommended to those looking to finally answer the question “So what the heck is a phonon?”.


Combustion – I. Glassman, R. Yeter

Combustion is, amazingly, arguably the best general combustion textbook out there. It provides the reader a gradual and logical introduction into the world of combustion science, starting with classical thermodynamics, passing through chemical kinetics, and end in flame dynamics. In regards to an introductory or ‘mandatory’ reference for the combustion field this would be my recommendation.

An Introduction to Combustion: Concepts and Applications – S. Turns

The Turns book is the other introductory book that I could suggest. Like the Glassman book, this text provides the reader a solid introduction to the combustion field, however I feel that its progression and ‘feel’ are inferior to the Glassman book. The scope of the information is also slightly watered down from the Glassman book, though this is still a solid source. If you are not intending to continue into the combustion field for the rest of your life, read the Turns book. If you do end up in the combustion field you will end up reading them both, so the point is moot.

Gas Turbine Combustion: Alternative Fuels and Emissions – A. Lefebvre, D. Ballal

This is Lefebvre’s text on the fine points of gas turbine combustion, just as the name implies. This is not a general combustion text, nor should it be considered as such. This text is useful for the fields of combustion science, turbo-machinery, and spray mechanics.

Combustion Physics – C. K. Law

C. K. Law is one of the best known names in the combustion community. As a professor at Princeton he was the graduate adviser of many of the leading voices in modern combustion science, including my own director Dr. Chih-Jen Sung. It is fitting then that Combustion Physics is something of a ‘grand-daddy’ text, throwing gradual introductions to the wind and throwing the reader into a see of symbols and tiny text. I highly suggest going through both the Turns and Glassman books before starting Law’s text, or else you will likely become quickly lost. If you do need a detailed and comprehensive text on combustion phenomena and their underlying physics, Combustion Physics is one of your only real choices. That, and three years worth of reading published journals.

Laser Diagnostics

Please note that the field of fluid/combustion diagnostics, specifically laser diagnostics, is one which draws from many other disciplines. Furthermore, vital information on the principles, design, construction, and application of various diagnostics methods as well as their suitability and error analysis is scattered across journal articles, with only limited information available from textbooks. If you do end up in this world, as I have, be prepared to do quite a bit of reading.

Fundamentals of Digital Particle Imaging Velocimetry – M. Wernet

Mark Wernet is an expert in PIV, and has given multiple talks and classes on the subject. This text is the print version of one such class, and is an absolute crash course in the basics of PIV and its application. I do not actually know how widely available the text is/was (I have only ever seen two copies, both from the private libraries of UConn professors) but if you do find one in the wild hang on to it!