Academic Credentials
  • Ph.D., Aeronautics, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), 2010
  • M.S., Aeronautics, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), 2004
  • B.S., Magna Cum Laude, Mathematics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2003
  • B.S., Magna Cum Laude, Aeronautical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2003
Licenses & Certifications
  • Professional Engineer Mechanical, California, #37828
  • 40-Hour Hazardous Waste Operation and Emergency Response Certification (HAZWOPER)
  • Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI)
Academic Appointments
  • Adjunct Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Dayton, 2010-2013
  • Instructor, Viterbi school of engineering - Aviation Safety & Security Program, University of Southern California, 2018-present
Professional Honors
  • NRC Post-doctoral fellowship, 2011-2013
  • Hans Hornung Prize—Best oral thesis defense, Caltech 2010
  • GALCIT Fellowship, 2003-2004
Professional Affiliations
  • ASME

Dr. Karnesky specializes in combustion, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, and heat transfer. He performs origin and cause investigations of fires and explosions in various industrial, commercial and residential settings. 

Dr. Karnesky has investigated several Loss of Containment events in the petrochemical industry, encompassing upstream, midstream, and downstream sectors.

He currently serves on the NFPA committees on agricultural dusts (NFPA 61) explosives (NFPA 495) and combustible dusts (NFPA 654). He has also performed risk assessments and failure investigations for various electrical and natural gas utilities. He has testified as an expert witness in both civil and criminal court.

Dr. Karnesky has used numerical and experimental methods to research the structural response to explosions in piping systems for the nuclear and chemical industries, including thermal stress, elastic wave propagation, and plastic deformation. He has performed experiments involving pulsed detonation, rotating detonation, and gas turbine engines. He has performed numerical modeling and experimental measurement of slurry entrainment and rheology for application to nuclear waste transport. He has performed experiments on flame quenching and the limits of flame propagation, as well as computational modeling of vented explosions. He has also performed experiments involving the detection of buried explosives.

Prior to joining Exponent, Dr. Karnesky was a research fellow at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Dayton, OH and an adjunct professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Dayton. He has also worked as a researcher at FM Global Research and at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.