Alfonso Ibarreta
Alfonso F. Ibarreta, Ph.D., P.E., CFEI
Managing Engineer
Thermal Sciences
  • Natick

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 has evaluated the compliance of industrial facilities with NFPA standards, as well as state and federal codes for the prevention and mitigation of dust and gas explosions. He has performed Dust Hazard Analyses (DHAs) at facilities handling combustible dust. He has also participated in Process Hazard Analyses (PHAs) and performed consequence modeling of flammable liquid / gas releases during the permitting and planning stages of LNG terminals and other oil & gas facilities. Dr. Ibarreta has employed Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) models, including FLACS, to calculate the consequences of flammable liquid/vapor releases, vented deflagrations, and unconfined vapor cloud explosions.

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 69Standard 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 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 and 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. 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 19 years, starting with his graduate work at the University of Michigan, where he studied premixed flame propagation utilizing high-speed imaging techniques.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Aerospace Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2002
  • M.S., Aerospace Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2000
  • B.S., Aerospace Engineering, University of Maryland, 1997, summa cum laude
  • Recipient of Distinguished Paper Award at the 31st Int. Symposium on Combustion, 2006

    Recipient of Robert M. Rivello scholarship, 1996

    Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, 2005

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Licensed Professional Mechanical Engineer, Massachusetts, #48085

Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI) in accordance with the National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI)

Blasting Certificate of Competency, Massachusetts, BL 7212

40-Hour OSHA Training in Hazardous Waste Operation and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) Certification, 29 CFR 1910.120

LANGUAGES

  • Spanish

Publications

Ibarreta AF, Myers TJ. Mitigating fire and explosion hazards of powdered metals. Metal Powder Report 2016; doi:10.1016/j.mprp.2016.01.073.

Myers TJ, Ibarreta AF, O'Hern SC. Mitigating fire and explosion hazards of metal powders: update on changing consensus standards, Proceedings POWDERMET 2016, International Conference on Powder Metallurgy & Particulate Materials, Boston, MA 2016.

Myers TJ, Ibarreta AF, Stern MC, O'Hern SC, Page CD. Combustible dust hazards in additive manufacturing operations, Proceedings POWDERMET 2016, International Conference on Powder Metallurgy & Particulate Materials, Boston, MA 2016.

Ibarreta AF, Stern MC, Myers TJ. Fire and Explosion Hazards in Enclosed Powder Conveyors. Powder & Bulk Solids 2016, 34(6):26-30.

Ibarreta AF, Biteau H, Sutula J. BLEVEs and fireballs. Chapter of the 5th Edition of the SFPE Handbook, of Fire Protection Engineering, SFPE, 2016.

Ibarreta AF, Hart RJ, Ponchaut NF, Morrison DR, Kytömaa HK. How does concrete affect evaporation of cryogenic liquids: Evaluating liquefied natural gas plant safety. ASCE-ASME Journal of Risk and Uncertainty in Engineering Systems Part B: Mechanical Engineering 2016; 2(1):011005-1-5.

Stern MC, Rosen JS, Ibarreta, AF, Myers TJ, Ogle RA. Quantification of the thermal hazard of metallic and organic dust flash fires. Proceedings Mary K O'Connor Process Safety Symposium, College Station, TX, 2015.

Ibarreta AF, Myers TJ. Fire and explosion mitigation strategies for metal powders. Proceedings, Proceedings, POWDERMET 2015, International Conference on Powder Metallurgy & Particulate Materials, San Diego, CA, 2015.

Ibarreta AF, Myers TJ, Marr KC, Garner SW. On the use of laminar burning velocities in process safety. Proceedings, 49th Loss Prevention Symposium, American Institute of Chemical Engineers Spring Meeting, Austin, TX, 2015.

Stern MC, Rosen JS, Ibarreta AF, Myers TJ, Ogle RA. Unconfined deflagration testing for the assessment of combustible dust flash fire hazards. Proceedings, 49th Loss Prevention Symposium, American Institute of Chemical Engineers Spring Meeting, Austin, TX, 2015.

Ibarreta AF, Morrison DR, Kytömaa HK. Small scale and transportation: navigating the risk. LNG Industry Magazine 2014 Oct; 17-24.

Stern MC, Ibarreta AF, Myers TJ. Assessment and mitigation of combustible dust hazards in the plastics industry. Proceedings, 30th International Conference of the Polymer Processing Society, Cleveland, OH, 2014 and AIP Conference Proceedings 1664, 180003, 2015.

Myers TJ, Ibarreta AF, Marr KC. Prescriptive versus performance-based mitigation of combustible dust hazards. Proceedings, 48th Loss Prevention Symposium, American Institute of Chemical Engineers Spring Meeting, New Orleans, LA, 2014.

Colella F, Ibarreta A, Ponchaut NF, Kytömaa H. Effectiveness of vapor fences in mitigating LNG jetting & flashing releases. 10th Global Congress on Process Safety, American Institute of Chemical Engineers Spring Meeting, New Orleans, LA, 2014.

Ibarreta AF, Ponchaut NF, Hart RJ, Morrison DR, Kytömaa HK. Using passive methods to reduce flammable release hazards at LNG facilities. FS-World Magazine "Oil & Gas Industry" edition, Spring 2014.

Hart RJ, Morrison DR, Ibarreta AF, Kytömaa HK. Guidelines for relative hazard ranking of refrigerants and siting considerations for LNG liquefaction units. American Institute of Chemical Engineers 2013 Spring National Meeting, 13th Topical Conference on Gas Utilization, San Antonio, TX, April 28-May 2, 2013.

Ibarreta AF, Hart RJ, Morrison DR, Kytömaa HK. A view of the evolving LNG regulations and associated exclusion zones from an industry perspective. American Institute of Chemical Engineers 2013 Spring National Meeting, 13th Topical Conference on Gas Utilization, San Antonio, TX, April 28-May 2, 2013.

Ibarreta A, Hart RJ, Ponchaut N, Morrison D, Kytömaa H. How does concrete affect evaporation of cryogenic liquids: Evaluating LNG plant safety. ASME 2013 International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition, San Diego, CA, November 2013.

Colella F, Ibarreta A, Ponchaut NF, Kytömaa H. Numerical analysis of dense gas dispersion: Effect of staggered fences. Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center. 2013 International Symposium, College Station, TX, October 2013.

Myers TJ, Ibarreta AF. Tutorial on combustible dust. Process Safety Progress 2013; 32(3):298-306.

Myers TJ, Ibarreta AF, Bucher JM, Marr KC. Assessing the hazard of marginally explosible dusts. Proceedings, 47th Loss Prevention Symposium, American Institute of Chemical Engineers Spring Meeting, San Antonio, TX, 2013.

Ashcraft R, Ibarreta A, Myers T. Preferential gas flow around a snow-covered pipe: Empirical evidence and modeling. The National Investigator, National Association of Fire Investigators, Saratosa, FL, Fall/Winter Issue 2012.

Bucher JM, Ford WP, Ibarreta AF, Marr KC, Myers TJ. Testing of marginally explosible dusts: evaluation of overdriving and realistic ignition sources in process facilities. Proceedings, Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center Symposium, College Station, TX, 2012.

Ibarreta AF, Myers TJ, Bucher JM, Marr K. Explosion severity: propane versus natural gas. Proceedings, International Symposium on Fire Investigation Science and Technology, Hyattsville, MD, 2012.

Ibarreta AF. Explosion hazards of gas and vapor mixtures. Proceedings, American Institute of Chemical Engineers Spring National Meeting, Houston, TX, 2012.

Ibarreta AF, Myers TJ. Tutorial on combustible dust. Proceedings, American Institute of Chemical Engineers Spring National Meeting, Houston, TX, 2012.

Ponchaut NF, Ibarreta AF, Kytömaa HK. Modeling of LNG spills into trenches and troughs. AIChE Spring Meeting, 12th Topical Conference on Gas Utilization, Houston, TX, April 2012.

Ponchaut NF, Kytömaa HK, Ibarreta AF. Modeling the vapor source associated with spills of LNG into troughs and trenches. AIChE Spring National Meeting, 11th Topical Conference on Gas Utilization, Chicago, IL, March 2011.

Ashcraft RW, Ibarreta AF, Myers, TJ. Leaking gas from a snow-covered pipe: Empirical evidence and modeling of preferential flow paths. Journal of Fire Protection Engineering 2011; 21:57-79.

Kytömaa H, Ibarreta A, Loud J. Char depth mapping of floor structure to determine fire origin. Proceedings, International Symposium on Fire Investigation Science and Technology, Hyattsville, MD, 2010.

Ashcraft R, Ibarreta A, Myers T. Preferential gas flow around a snow-covered pipe: Empirical evidence and modeling. Proceedings, International Symposium on Fire Investigation Science and Technology, Hyattsville, MD, 2010.

Kytömaa H, Myers T, Ibarreta A, Ponchaut N. Using real time process models to detect loss of containment and mitigate hazards. Proceedings, 12th Process Plant Safety Symposium, American Institute of Chemical Engineers Spring National Meeting, San Antonio, TX, 2010.

Myers T, Kytömaa H, Ibarreta A, Ponchaut N. Analyzing historic process data to identify near misses and warning signs: Examples from the Buncefield incident. Proceedings, 6th Global Congress on Process Safety, American Institute of Chemical Engineers Spring National Meeting, San Antonio, TX, 2010.

Myers T, Ibarreta A. Investigation of the Jahn Foundry and CTA Acoustics dust explosions: Similarities and differences. J Loss Prev Process Indust 2009; 22:740-745.

Ibarreta A, Clevenger J, Ellison A. Changes in flammability of nylon used as insulation in electrical connectors. American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Journal, Summer 2009.

Myers T, Ibarreta A. Case study of a hydrogen explosion in an electrical panel. Fire Saf Mag 2009; Spring:12-19.

Myers T, Ibarreta A, Ashcraft R. Dust explosion prevention: Regulations, standards, and mitigation techniques. Proceedings, 43rd AIChE Loss Prevention Symposium, Tampa Bay, FL, April 2009.

Davis S, Ibarreta A, Kessel A, Ellison A. Flammability of nylon used as insulation in electrical connectors. Proceedings, International Symposium on Fire Investigation Science and Technology, Cincinnati, OH, 2008.

Myers T, Ibarreta A. Case study of a hydrogen explosion in an electrical panel. Proceedings, 42nd Annual Loss Prevention Symposium, American Institute of Chemical Engineers Spring National Meeting, New Orleans, LA, 2008.

Myers T, Ibarreta A. Investigation of the Jahn Foundry and CTA acoustics dust explosions: Similarities and differences. Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center Symposium, 2007.

Rangwala A, Myers T, Ibarreta A. Measurements of the non-dimensional Frank-Kamenetskii number using a standard dust layer ignition testing apparatus. 5th International Seminar on Fire and Explosion Hazards, Edinburgh, UK, 2007.

Davis S, Ibarreta A, Clevenger J. Flammability of electrical crimp connectors subjected to heating. Proceedings, Fire and Materials 10th International Conference, 2007.

Han B, Ibarreta A, Sung CJ, T'ien JS. Structure of low-stretch methane nonpremixed flames. Combust Flame 2007; 149:173-190.

Ibarreta A, Sung CJ, Wang H. Experimental characterization of premixed spherical ethylene/air flames under sooting conditions. Proceedings, Combustion Institute 2006; 31:1047-1054.

Ibarreta A, Sung CJ. Optimization of Jet-A fuel reforming for aerospace applications. Int J Hydrogen Energy 2006; 31:1066-1078.

Mento C, Sung CJ, Ibarreta A, Schneider S. Catalytic ignition of methane/hydrogen/oxygen mixtures for microthruster applications. 42nd AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference, AIAA Paper No. 2006-4871, 2006.

Mento C, Sung CJ, Ibarreta A, Schneider S. Effects of hydrogen addition on catalytic ignition of rich methane/oxygen mixtures in a platinum microtube. Technical Meeting of the Central States Section of The Combustion Institute, Case Western Reserve University, NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH, 2006.

Ibarreta A, Sung CJ. Flame temperature and location measurements of sooting premixed Bunsen flames using rainbow schlieren deflectometry. Appl Opt 2005; 44, No. 14:3565-3575.

Ibarreta A, Sung CJ, Wang H. Burning velocities of sooting premixed ethylene/air flames in microgravity. 4th Joint Meeting US Sections of the Combustion Institute, Paper No. F08, Philadelphia, PA, March 2005.

Han B, Ibarreta A, Sung CJ, T'ien JS. Structure of low stretch methane diffusion flames. 4th Joint Meeting US Sections of the Combustion Institute, Paper No. F21, Philadelphia, PA, March 2005.

Ibarreta A, Sung CJ, Hirasawa T, Wang H. Burning velocity measurements of sooting premixed flames. 42nd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Conference, Reno, NV, January 2004.

Ibarreta A, Sung CJ, Wang H, Hirasawa T. Burning velocity measurements of microgravity spherical sooting premixed flames using rainbow schlieren deflectometry. Combust Flame 2005; 140:93-102.

Han B, Ibarreta A, Sung CJ, T'ien JS. Experimental low stretch gaseous diffusion flames in buoyancy-induced flowfields. Proceedings, Combustion Institute 2004; 30:527-535.

Ibarreta A, Sung CJ. Temperature measurements in sooting premixed flames using rainbow schlieren deflectometry. 42nd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Conference, Reno, NV, January 2004.

Han B, Ibarreta A, Sung CJ, T'ien J. A study on buoyancy-induced low stretch gaseous diffusion flames. 42nd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Conference, Reno, NV, January 2004.

Han B, Ibarreta A, Sung CJ, T'ien J. Experimental diagnostics on buoyancy-induced low stretch gaseous diffusion flames. Technical Meeting of Eastern States Sections of the Combustion Institute, University Park, PA, p. 157, October 2003.

Ibarreta A, Sung CJ. Determination of flame location using rainbow schlieren deflectometry. 3rd Joint Meeting of U.S. Sections of the Combustion Institute, Paper No. PI03, Chicago, IL, March 2003.

Han B, Ibarreta A, Sung CJ, T'ien J. On burner-generated low-stretch diffusion flames in natural-convective flows. 3rd Joint Meeting of U.S. Sections of the Combustion Institute, Paper No. PC03, Chicago, IL, March 2003.

Ibarreta A, Driscoll, J. Effects of negative curvature on the flame structure and burning velocities of laminar premixed flames. 2nd Joint Meeting of US Sections of the Combustion Institute, Oakland, CA, March 2001.

Ibarreta A. An experimental and numerical study of the inwardly-propagating premixed flame. Ph.D. thesis, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, June 2002.

Ibarreta A, Driscoll JF, Feikema DA. Markstein numbers of negatively-stretched flames — Microgravity measurements and computations. Proceedings, Combustion Institute 2002; 29:1435-1443.

Ibarreta A, Driscoll JF. Measured burning velocities of stretched inwardly propagating premixed flames. Proceedings, Combustion Institute 2000; 28:1783-1791.

Presentations and Posters

Ibarreta AF, O’Hern SC. Explosion Protection in Industrial Settings. Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Department of Fire Protection Engineering, Worcester, MA, 2016

Ibarreta AF. Flammability, Fires and Explosions. University of Michigan, Department of Chemical Engineering, Ann Arbor, MI, 2015. 

Ibarreta AF, Hart RJ, Sipe J, Morrison DR, Kytömaa HK. Gas Fueled Vehicles – Changing Regulations NFPA Conference and Expo, Chicago, IL, 2015.

Ibarreta AF, Myers TJ. Over-reliance on automated controls and alarms: A case study. New England Area Chapters of American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), Warwick, RI, December 2014.

Ibarreta A, Ellison A. Investigation of explosion incidents. New England Chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, February 2013.

Myers TJ, Ibarreta AF. The role of engineering analysis in explosion investigations. Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Department of Fire Protection Engineering, Worcester, MA, 2012.

Ellison A, Ibarreta A. Investigation of explosions using engineering analysis. Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Department of Fire Protection Engineering, Worcester, MA, April, 2011.

Bucher JM, Ibarreta AF, Myers, TJ. Combustible dusts: Hazard recognition and abatement. Greater Boston Chapter American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), Hopkinton, MA, 2011.

Ibarreta A, Myers T. Fires and explosions involving fuel gas systems. First Party Claims Conference (FPCC), Providence-Warwick, RI, 2010.

Myers T, Ibarreta A. Investigation of explosions using engineering analysis. Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Department of Fire Protection Engineering, Worcester, MA, 2010.

Myers T, Ibarreta A. Water leaks, oil spills and gas explosions - When good pipes go bad. Cozen O'Connor, Philadelphia, PA, 2010.

Kytömaa H, Myers T, Ibarreta A, Ponchaut NF. Anatomy of the failures that led to the Buncefield explosion and fire. Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center Symposium, College Station, TX, 2009.

Myers T, Ibarreta A. Using fire protection engineering to investigate explosions. Guest speaker presentation at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, MA, April 2009.

Myers T, Ibarreta A. Case study of a hydrogen explosion in an electrical panel. Poster presented at the AIChE Loss Prevention Symposium, Spring 2008.

Myers T, Ibarreta A. Explosion investigation: Reverse-engineering a blast scene. Guest speaker presentation at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, MA, November 2007.

Ibarreta A, Sung CJ, Hirasawa T, Wang H. Burning velocity measurements of microgravity spherical sooting premixed flames using rainbow schlieren deflectometry. Poster presented at the 30th International Symposium on Combustion, Chicago, IL, July 2004.

Prior Experience

Senior Research Associate at Case Western Reserve University, 2005

Research Associate at Case Western Reserve University, 2002–2005

Graduate Student Instructor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2001–2002

Graduate Student Research Assistant at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1997–2001

Research Assistant at the University of Maryland, College Park, 1997

Professional Affiliations

National Fire Protection Association:

  • Principal member: Technical Committee on Explosion Protection Systems. Responsible for NFPA 68 Standard on Explosion Protection by Deflagration Venting and NFPA 69 Standard on Explosion Prevention Systems

Massachusetts Board of Fire Prevention Regulations:

  • Mechanical engineering representative. Responsible for amending and promulgating the comprehensive fire safety code (527 CMR) for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

National Association of Fire Investigators (member)

Massachusetts chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators (member)

Knowledge

News & Events

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Aerospace Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2002
  • M.S., Aerospace Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2000
  • B.S., Aerospace Engineering, University of Maryland, 1997, summa cum laude
  • Recipient of Distinguished Paper Award at the 31st Int. Symposium on Combustion, 2006

    Recipient of Robert M. Rivello scholarship, 1996

    Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, 2005

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Licensed Professional Mechanical Engineer, Massachusetts, #48085

Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI) in accordance with the National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI)

Blasting Certificate of Competency, Massachusetts, BL 7212

40-Hour OSHA Training in Hazardous Waste Operation and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) Certification, 29 CFR 1910.120

LANGUAGES

  • Spanish