Academic Credentials
  • 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, College Park, 1997
Licenses & Certifications
  • Professional Engineer, Arkansas, #21694
  • Professional Engineer Mechanical, Louisiana, #PE.0043460
  • Professional Engineer Mechanical, Massachusetts, #48085
  • Professional Engineer Mechanical, New Hampshire, #15583
  • Professional Engineer, Pennsylvania, #PE085818
  • Professional Engineer Mechanical, Texas, #133850
  • Blasting Certificate of Competency (MA)
  • Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI)
Professional Honors
  • 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
  • Frank Lees Medal, Safety & Loss Prevention Special Interest Group, Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), 2017
Professional Affiliations
  • National Fire Protection Association:
    • Principal member: Technical Committee on Explosion Protection Systems. Responsible for 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
  • National Association of Fire Investigators (member)
  • Spanish

Dr. Ibarreta applies thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, and heat transfer principles to the study of combustion processes in fires, explosions, and a variety of fluid processes. 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, unconfined vapor cloud explosions (VCEs) and pool fires. He has also used the DustEx module in FLACS to model combustible dust explosions in silos, bucket elevators and other enclosures. Dr. Ibarreta has modeled the effect of flammable release mitigation methods such as: pipe-in-pipe systems, pipe shrouds, vapor cloud fences, liquid spill conveying trenches, thermal radiation barriers, thermally-insulated substrates, flame arrestors and explosion vents.

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 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, including propane and natural gas, to assess potential failure scenarios. Dr. Ibarreta has researched changes in flammability of polymeric materials with thermal aging, and studied the ignition characteristic of solid and powder fuels. Dr. Ibarreta has also participated in efforts to develop fire safety standards and consequence mitigation strategies for the use of lithium ion batteries in Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) applications.

Prior to joining Exponent, Dr. Ibarreta was a Senior Research Associate at Case Western Reserve University. He has been involved in combustion research for the past 24 years, starting with his graduate work at the University of Michigan, where he studied premixed flame propagation utilizing high-speed imaging techniques.