Skip to main content


Steven Zabarnick

Division Head, Fuels & Combustion

University of Dayton Research Institute: Fuels and Combustion


Email: Steven Zabarnick
Phone: 937-255-3549
WPAFB Bldg 490 Rm 211
Website: Visit Site


Dr. Zabarnick has been involved for over 35 years in research and development issues related to the areas of fuel chemistry, hydrocarbon autoxidation and pyrolysis, chemical kinetics, alternative jet fuels, combustion chemistry, fuel additive development and evaluation, fuel chemical analysis, computational modeling, laser diagnostics, and atmospheric chemistry. He has authored or co-authored over 140 journal articles in these areas. He has been involved in the research and development of numerous jet fuel additives that are in current use, or due to be used in the field, including the advanced high thermal stability fuel/additive, JP-8+100, and a corresponding fuel/additive with improved low temperature flowability, JP-8+100LT. He is the primary developer of an advanced jet fuel thermal stability chemical kinetic model that allows, for the first time, the prediction of fuel deposit production and allows improved design of fuel system components. Most recently, he has played a key role in research related to alternative fuels.


Dr. Zabarnick's fuels and combustion research includes work in the following areas:

  • High and low temperature properties of jet fuels
  • Fuel additive development and evaluation
  • Fuel chemical analysis
  • Alternative jet fuel development and testing
  • Free radical chemical kinetics
  • Fuels and combustion chemistry


  • Ph.D., Chemistry, The Pennsylvania State University, 1984
  • B.S., Chemistry, Binghamton University (State University of New York at Binghamton), 1980


  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Int. Association for Stability and Handling, of Liquid Fuels, 2013
  • FAA 2007 Excellence in Aviation Research Award (team award, UDRI/AFRL)
  • Outstanding Engineer and Scientist Award, Affiliate Societies Council of the Engineering and Science Foundation of Dayton, 2003
  • Wohlleben-Hochwalt Outstanding Professional Research Award (UDRI), 1997/1998.
  • National Research Council Post-doctoral Fellow, Naval Research Laboratory, 1984-1987


  • Steering Committee, Coordinating Research Council Aviation Fuels Group, (2010-Present)
  • Vice-Chair, Coordinating Research Council, Aviation Fuel Stability Group (2006-Present)
  • Board of Directors, Int. Association for Stability, Handling and Use of Liquid Fuels (2003-Present)
  • Vice-Chair/Chair, Coordinating Research Council, Aviation Fuel Committee (2013-2017)

Selected Publications

  • S. Zabarnick and D.K. Phelps, “Density Functional Theory Calculations of the Energetics and Kinetics of Jet Fuel Autoxidation Reactions,” Energy & Fuels, Vol. 20, pp. 488-497, 2006.
  • N. J. Kuprowicz, S. Zabarnick, Z. J. West, and J. S. Ervin, “The Use of Measured Species Class Concentrations with Chemical Kinetic Modeling for the Prediction of Autoxidation and Deposition of Jet Fuels,” Energy & Fuels, 2007, Vol. 21, pp. 530-544, 2007.
  • Z.H. Sander, Z.J. West, J.S. Ervin, and S. Zabarnick, “Experimental and Modeling Studies of Heat Transfer, Fluid Dynamics, and Autoxidation Chemistry in the Jet Fuel Thermal Oxidation Tester (JFTOT),” Energy & Fuels, Vol. 29, pp. 7036-7047, 2015
  • Z.J. West, T. Yamada, C.R. Bruening, R.L. Cook, S.S. Mueller, L.M. Shafer, M.J. DeWitt, and S. Zabarnick, “Investigation of Water Interactions with Petroleum-Derived and Synthetic Aviation Turbine Fuels,” Energy and Fuels, Vol. 32, pp. 1166-1178, 2018.
  • S. Zabarnick, Z.J. West, L.M. Shafer, S.S. Mueller, R.C. Striebich, and P.J. Wrzensinski, “Studies of the Role of Heteroatomic Species in Jet Fuel Thermal Stability: Model Fuel Mixtures and Real Fuels,” Energy Fuels Vol. 33, pp. 8557−8565, 2019.