Sean Kelly
Sean B. Kelly, Ph.D., P.E.
Senior Engineer
Thermal Sciences
  • Menlo Park

Dr. Kelly specializes in the analysis of products and systems in the automotive, thermal design, consumer, and industrial environments. His work includes investigations of technical issues pertaining to vehicles, liquid and gas flows, consumer appliances, and consumer electronics. He has particular expertise in automotive component design, especially associated with the engine and powertrain, including fuel, ignition, cooling, steering, braking, and drivetrain systems.

His mechanical and aerospace engineering background includes extensive experience in laboratory-based testing and experimental design, advanced manufacturing processes, and rapid prototyping including a seven month deployment to Afghanistan for the U.S. Army’s Rapid Equipping Force to engineer and manufacture technology solutions directly to soldiers. 

At Exponent, Dr. Kelly conducts investigations of failures in ground vehicles and passenger cars and trucks and thermal design issues including industrial heat transfer, consumer appliances, and lithium ion battery failure in devices such as consumer electronics and aircraft. He often performs large-scale testing and analysis in support of his testimony as an expert witness in litigation. 

Prior to joining Exponent, Dr. Kelly was a Research Assistant in the Combustion and Propulsion Laboratory at the University of Florida where he performed research funded by NASA for the Constellation program. His doctoral work focused on cavitation in liquid rocket engines with an emphasis on the Space Shuttle’s Main Engines (SSME). 

Dr. Kelly has served as an instructor and teaching assistant in over 10 courses in mechanical and aerospace engineering including gas dynamics, propulsion, and machine shop operations at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. He has published and performed peer review of research publications in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Journal and Journal of Propulsion and Power. 

Before joining the University of Florida, Dr. Kelly held positions at a research company investigating small-scale gas pyrolysis from organic matter for the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), in research and development of industrial and residential fluid metering systems at Neptune Technology Group, served as a machinist and instructor at Auburn University, was a co-op in tire manufacturing for Michelin, and founded and operated C-Tech Racing, a business involved in automotive fabrication and racing, specializing in forced induction (turbocharger) and performance engine systems. 

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Aerospace Engineering, University of Florida, 2012
  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Auburn University, 2007
  • American Welding Society Fellowship Award, American Welding Society, 2007

    President’s Scholarship, University of Florida, 2009

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Licensed Mechanical Engineer, California, #34082

ASE Certified Automobile Technician – # 5507-4728

Combat Firearms Familiarization, American Firearms Training and Tactics

Fire Origin and Cause Determination (1A), California State Fire Marshal Course

Publications

Kelly S, Segal C. Characteristics of thermal cavitation on a two-dimensional hydrofoil. AIAA Journal of Propulsion and Power, in press.

Kelly S, Segal C, Peugeot J. Simulation of cryogenics cavitation. AIAA Journal 2011; Vol. 49, No. 11, 2011.

Presentations and Lectures


Cavitation in rocket engines. Clean Combustion Group, KAUST, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 2012.

Kelly S, Segal C. Experiments in thermosensitive cavitation of a cryogenic rocket propellant surrogate. 50th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, Nashville, TN, 2012.

Kelly S, Segal C. Cryogenics cavitation. 49th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, Nashville, Orlando, FL, 2011 (Invited).

Kelly S, Segal C. Experimental simulation o cryogenics cavitation. 48th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, Nashville, Orlando, FL, 2011.

Cantera (chemical kinetics software) Tutorial. University of Florida Graduate Combustion Course, 2011.

Academic Appointments

Adjunct Faculty, Department of Mechanical Engineering, San Francisco State University

Professional Affiliations

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (member)

American Society of Mechanical Engineers (member)

Society of Automotive Engineers (member)

American Welding Society (member)

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Aerospace Engineering, University of Florida, 2012
  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Auburn University, 2007
  • American Welding Society Fellowship Award, American Welding Society, 2007

    President’s Scholarship, University of Florida, 2009

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Licensed Mechanical Engineer, California, #34082

ASE Certified Automobile Technician – # 5507-4728

Combat Firearms Familiarization, American Firearms Training and Tactics

Fire Origin and Cause Determination (1A), California State Fire Marshal Course