Dr. Ibarreta applies thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, and heat transfer principles to the study of combustion processes in fires, explosions, and a variety of combustion devices. He is a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator and has investigated fires and explosions involving consumer products, residential and commercial buildings, and industrial facilities.
Dr. Ibarreta is a principal member of the NFPA’s Technical Committee on Explosion Protection Systems. This committee is responsible for NFPA documents related to explosion protection systems for buildings and equipment, including NFPA 67 Guide on Explosion Protection for Gaseous Mixtures in Pipe Systems
, NFPA 68 Standard on Explosion Protection by Deflagration Venting
, and NFPA 69 Standard on Explosion Prevention Systems
. Dr. Ibarreta is also the mechanical engineering representative at the Massachusetts Board of Fire Prevention Regulations. This board is responsible for amending and promulgating the comprehensive fire safety code (527 CMR) for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Dr. Ibarreta has evaluated the compliance of industrial facilities with NFPA standards and local codes for the prevention and mitigation of dust and gas explosions, and helped design and test dust explosion mitigation systems. He has also performed consequence modeling of cryogenic and flammable liquid / gas releases during the permitting of LNG import and export terminals, in accordance with federal regulations. Dr. Ibarreta is specifically interested in modeling of vented deflagrations and unconfined vapor cloud explosions.
Dr. Ibarreta has performed testing involving consumer products, including lighting equipment, electric and gas appliances, and evaluated their compliance with standards and regulations (such as UL, CSA, IEC, ASTM, API, and CFR). He has inspected and tested fuel gas supply equipment. He has researched changes in flammability of polymeric materials with thermal aging, and studied the ignition characteristic of solid and powder fuels.
Prior to joining Exponent, Dr. Ibarreta was a Senior Research Associate at Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland. During this time at Case, Dr. Ibarreta served as lab manager while simultaneously performing research dealing with hydrocarbon and hydrogen combustion. He has worked on several NASA funded projects, conducting studies at NASA Glenn’s 2.2 Second Drop Tower facility. He has been involved in combustion research for the past 14 years, starting with his graduate work at the University of Michigan, where he studied premixed flame propagation utilizing high-speed imaging techniques.