Dr. Ron Matthews earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering with a specialization in combustion from the University of California, Berkeley in 1977. He joined the faculty of The University of Texas at Austin in 1980. He directs the General Motors Foundation Combustion Sciences and Automotive Research Labs. In 2002, Matthews was selected as a fellow of the Society of Automotive Engineers, an honor bestowed to fewer than 20 people out of the more than 65,000 society members each year.
Dr. Matthews? researches engines. Recently, he has focused on alternative fuels, emissions control, the spark ignition process, and engine friction. Among Matthews? outstanding research is an on-board distillation system for gasoline-powered vehicles, which he designed in collaboration with a graduate student. The system reduces emissions by 82 percent and was patented by the university and Ford Motor Company in 2001. His teaching style includes a very hands-on approach?his students build cars, the quintessential experience for conventional mechanical engineers. Matthews founded Formula SAE, a collegiate competition in which students design race cars, with four teams competing at UT for the first competition in 1981. The year-long competition now draws more than 300 teams and has three international affiliates.
Alternative fuels; Emissions; Engine modeling