Dr Rowena Ball
Areas of expertise
- Applied Mathematics 0102
- Physical Chemistry (Incl. Structural) 0306
- Other Chemical Sciences 0399
- Chemical Engineering 0904
- Interdisciplinary Engineering 0915
- Other Earth Sciences 0499
- Evolutionary Biology Not Elsewhere Classified 060399
Research interests
The origin of life in the primordial soup, Nonlinear and complex dynamical systems, Decarbonation of fuels and flue gases, Endex thermoreactive systems, Combustion theory and modelling, Thermochemical instabilities, Exergy analysis, Entropy generation analysis, Carbon sequestration via charcoal, Global carbon cycles, Quasi two-dimensional flows, Country pub lunches.
Biography
- PhD (1997), BSc Hons I + University Medal (1993) Macquarie University
- ARC Future Fellowship 2010–2014
- Lagrange Fellowship in Complex Systems, ISI Foundation Italy 2005
- ARC Postdoctoral Fellowship 2000–2003
- APA, Energy Research Priority Area 1993–1996
Employment: - The Australian National University:
ARC Future Fellow, Mathematical Sciences Institute 03/2010–current
Visiting Fellow 05/2009–03/2010
Research Fellow / Senior Research Scientist, RSPE 01/1999–04/2010
Seconded to MASCOS www.complex.org.au 08/2005–08/2006 - Scientific Consultant, Calix Ltd 05/2009–current
- Research Contract (Security Classified), Department of Defence 09/2009–03/2010
- School of Mathematics, University of Leeds, UK:
Postdoctoral Research Fellow 01/1998–01/1999 - School of Chemistry, University of Sydney:
Research Associate 01/1997–01/1998 - Macquarie University:
Tutor/Lecturer in chemistry, maths, and physics 03/1992–11/1996
Researcher's projects
I am an applied mathematician and physical chemist with broad research expertise in nonlinear and complex dynamical systems. My Endex research was nominated for the 2012 Eni Award.
My ARC Future Fellowship FT0991007 project is titled “The charXive challenge and the clean coal quest: thermokinetic principles and methods for capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide”.
The next 50 years will be the era during which the world's fuels must be decarbonised. Endex thermoreactive principles, which I co-invented in the mid 1990s, are providing a novel technology for separating carbon from fuels and flue gases. I am developing a suite of Endex decarbonation technologies in collaboration with an industry partner, Calix Ltd, and with collaborators from Imperial College London, the University of Leeds, and CanMet Energy.
Endex principles also underpin carbon capture from the atmosphere and have been used by nature for millions of years: the mechanism behind thermal decomposition of biomass is an Endex thermochemical oscillator that governs the distribution of carbon between the global solid black carbon reservoir and the atmospheric CO2 reservoir. My research is elucidating this mechanism.
Oscillatory thermal instability can also initiate thermal explosions. A grave threat to security is the use of liquid peroxide bombs by terrorists, and it seems grimly inevitable that their use as mass murder weapons will increase. My research on Endex systems has found that oscillatory thermal instability is the initiator of thermal runaway in liquid peroxides and also was the primary cause of the Bhopal disaster.
Keywords: Nonlinear and complex dynamical systems, Origin of life, Decarbonation of fuels and flue gases, Endex thermoreactive systems, Combustion theory and modelling, Thermochemical instabilities, Exergy analysis, Charcoal, Fire, Global carbon cycles, Quasi two-dimensional flows, Country pub lunches.
Available student projects
- The origin of life: dynamical modelling of the RNA world
- Second law analysis of carbon capture systems.
- Oscillatory thermal instability in liquid explosives.
- The role of vegetation fires in global carbon cycles.
- The charcoal challenge.
- Topics in applied dynamical systems, stability, and chaos.
Publications
- Rowena Ball, 2015. STEM the gap: Science belongs to us mob too. Australian Quarterly (Ed. Grant Mills) vol. 86, Jan–Mar 2015, pages 13–19.
- Ball, R 2014, 'Entropy generation analyses of Endex and conventional calcium looping processes for CO2 capture', Fuel, vol. 127, pp. 202-211.
- Ball, R & Brindley, J 2014, 'Hydrogen peroxide thermochemical oscillator as driver for primordial RNA replication', Journal of the Royal Society. Interface, vol. 11, no. 95, pp. 20131052/1-8.
- Ball, R 2014, 'Regulation of atmospheric carbon dioxide by vegetation fires', Climate Research, vol. 59, no. 2, pp. 125-133.
- Rowena Ball (2014). Women’s careers: Out with the linear pipeline and in with the new nonlinear paradigm. Text of invited address given at the International Women’s Day Award ceremony at University House, ANU, 7 March 2014, posted at https://anu-au.academia.edu/RowenaBall.
- Ball, R 2013, 'Thermal oscillations in the decomposition of organic peroxides: Identification of a hazard, utilization, and suppression', Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, vol. 52, no. 2, pp. 922-933.
- Ball, R & Gray, B 2012, 'Thermal instability and runaway criteria: the dangers of disregarding dynamics', Process Safety and Environmental Protection, vol. 91, no. 3, pp. 221-226.
- Sullivan, A & Ball, R 2012, 'Thermal decomposition and combustion chemistry of cellulosic biomass', Atmospheric environment, vol. 47, pp. 133-141.
- Ball, R. and Gray, B.F. (2012) Thermal instability and runaway criteria: the dangers of disregarding dynamics. Preprint at http://anu.academia.edu/RowenaBall. Summary: Two published examples of incorrect and dangerous thermal runaway criteria are exposed. Stability theory has been used by chemical engineers to assay reactive thermal hazard for sixty years - why has this knowledge been completely ignored by the authors of those works? They claim to specify thermal 'safety' criteria but, to the contrary, they are seriously putting human lives at risk.
- Plouffe, P, Gamage McEvoy, J, Ball, R et al 2012, 'Object-oriented simulation of an Endex reactor for separation of carbon dioxide from flue emissions', Computers in Chemical Engineering, vol. 40, pp. 213-222.
- R. Ball, P. Fennell, (2012) Second law analyses of Endex and conventional calcium looping reactors. (Working paper)
- Ball, R 2011, 'Oscillatory thermal instability and the Bhopal disaster', Process Safety and Environmental Protection, vol. 89, pp. 317-322.
- Ball, R 2011, 'Thermal relaxation oscillations in liquid organic peroxides', International Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion, vol. 10, no. 6, pp. 523-540.
- Ball R (2011). Oscillatory thermal instability - the Bhopal disaster and liquid bombs. http://arxiv.org/abs/1105.3778. Invited chapter for a forthcoming book "Nanotechnology Research and The Millenium Development Goals", editor Thomas Faunce, to be published by Pan Stanford.
- Ball, R (2011). Oscillatory thermal instability and the Bhopal disaster. Accepted 08 June 2011 by Process Safety and Environmental Protection, preprint available at http://arxiv.org/abs/1007.1487.
- Ball, R & Jones, J 2010, 'The Carbon Sequestration Capacity of Trees Expressed in Monetary Terms.', The Open Thermodynamics Journal, vol. 4, pp. 220-221.
- Ball R and Gray BF (1995,1996) Reactor system design, Australian Provisional Patents PO0176 and PN3208.
- Ball, R & Sceats, M 2010, 'Separation of carbon dioxide from flue emissions using Endex principles', Fuel, vol. 89, no. 10, pp. 2750-2759.
- Ball, R 2009, 'High Confinement at Low Power Input in Magnetic Fusion Plasmas: Analysis of Trade-offs Using Stability Theory', IEEE Conference on Decision and Control and Chinese Control Conference (CDC/CCC 2009), IEEE Inc, DOI: 10.1109/CDC.2009.5399587, pp. 297-302.
- Ball, R 2008, 'The Case of the Trapped Singularities', Complexity International, vol. 12, pp. 1-21.
- Ball, R 2008, 'Combustion of Biomass as a Global Carbon Sink', The Open Thermodynamics Journal, vol. 2, pp. 106-108.
- Stals, L, Numata, R & Ball, R 2008, 'Stability Analysis of Time Stepping for Prolonged Plasma Fluid Simulations', SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 961-986.
- Ball, R 2007, 'Distilled Turbulence. A Reduced Model for Confirnement Transitions in Magnetic Fusion Plasmas', in Jim Denier & Jorgen Fredericksen (ed.), Frontiers in Turbulence and Coherent Structures: proceedings of the COSNet/CSIRO Workshop on Turbulence and Coherent Structures in Fluids, Plasmas and Nonlinear Media, World Scientific Publishing Company, New Jersey, USA, pp. 395-414.
- Numata, R, Ball, R & Dewar, R 2007, 'Nonlinear Simulation of Drift Wave Turbulence', in Jim Denier & Jorgen Fredericksen (ed.), Frontiers in Turbulence and Coherent Structures: proceedings of the COSNet/CSIRO Workshop on Turbulence and Coherent Structures in Fluids, Plasmas and Nonlinear Media, World Scientific Publishing Company, New Jersey, USA, pp. 431-442.
- Ball, R & Holmes, P 2007, 'Dynamical Systems, Stability, and Chaos', in Jim Denier & Jorgen Fredericksen (ed.), Frontiers in Turbulence and Coherent Structures: proceedings of the COSNet/CSIRO Workshop on Turbulence and Coherent Structures in Fluids, Plasmas and Nonlinear Media, World Scientific Publishing Company, New Jersey, USA, pp. 1-28.
- Numata, R, Ball, R & Dewar, R 2007, 'Bifurcation in Electrostatic Resistive Drift Wave Turbulence', Physics of Plasmas, vol. 14, pp. 102312 1-8.
- Ball, R & Horton, W 2006, 'Dynamics of Edge Oscillations and Core Relaxations in Harness', International Atomic Energy Agency Fusion Energy Conference (FEC 2006), Conference Organising Committee, Website, pp. TP/p6-24.
- Ball, R & Horton, W 2006, 'A Model for Coupled Edge-Core Dynamics', International Congress on Plasma Physics (ICCP 2006), ed. Anatoly Zagorodny, Olha Kocherga, Conference Organising Committee, unknown.
- Ball, R 2005, 'Kolmogorov Cascade', in Alwyn Scott (ed.), Encyclopedia of Nonlinear Science, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, New York, pp. 1-3.
- Ball, R 2005, 'Fairy Rings of Mushrooms', in Alwyn Scott (ed.), Encyclopedia of Nonlinear Science, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, New York.
- Ball, R 2005, 'Dynamical Systems Modelling of Turbulence-shear Flow Interactions in Magnetized Fusion Plasmas', Journal of Physics: Conference Series, vol. 7, pp. 191-202.
- Ball, R 2005, 'Singularity theory', in Alwyn Scott (ed.), Encyclopedia of Nonlinear Science, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, New York, pp. 813-815.
- Ball, R 2005, 'Trapped Singularities in a Dynamical Model for Plasma Confinement Transitions', National Conference on Nonlinear Systems and Dynamics (NCNSD 2005), ed. Conference Program Committee, Ujal Halder, Kharagpur.
- Ball, R 2005, 'Suppression of Turbulence at Low Power Input in a Model for Plasma Confinement Transitions', Physics of Plasmas, vol. 12, no. 9, pp. 090904-1-8.
- Horton, W, Wong, H, Morrison, P et al 2005, 'Temperature Gradient Driven Electron Transport in NSTX and Tore Supra', Nuclear Fusion, vol. 45, pp. 976-985.
- Ball, R, McIntosh, A & Brindley, J 2004, 'Feedback Process in Cellulose Thermal Decomposition: Implications for Fire-retarding Strategies and Treatment', Combustion Theory and Modelling, vol. 8, pp. 281-291.
- Ball, R 2004, 'The Case of the Trapped Singularitites', Asia-Pacific Complex Systems Conference (Complex 2004), ed. Russel Stonier, Qinglong Han, Wei Li, Central Queensland University, QLD, pp. 266-286.
- Ball, R, ed., 2003, Nonlinear Dynamics: From Lasers to Butterflies: selected lectures from 15th Canberra International Physics Summer School, Australian National University, 21 January-1 February 2002, World Scientific Publishing Company, Singapore.
- Kendl, A, Scott, B, Ball, R et al 2003, 'Turbulent Edge Structure Formation in Complex Configurations', Physics of Plasmas, vol. 10, pp. 3684-3691.
- Ball, R, Dewar, R & Sugama, H 2003, 'Bifurcation and Metamorphosis of Plasma Turbulence-Shear Flow Dynamics: The Path to the Top of the Hill', in I.S. Falconer, R.L. Dewar, J. Khachan (ed.), Plasma Physics: Proceedings of the 11th International Congress on Plasma Physics, ICPP2002, American Institute of Physics (AIP), New York, pp. 711-714.
- Ball, R, Dewar, R & Sugama, H 2002, 'Metamorphosis of Plasma Turbulence-shear-flow Dynamics through a Transcritical Bifurcation', Physical Review E, vol. 66, no. 6, pp. 066408-1-9.
- Ball, R 2001, 'Understanding Critical Behaviour through Visualization: A Walk around the Pitchfork', Computer Physics Communications, vol. 142, pp. 71-75.
- Ball, R & Haymet, A 2001, 'Bistability and hysteresis in self-assembling micelle systems: phenomenology and deterministic dynamics', Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, vol. 3, pp. 4753-4761.
- Ball, R & Dewar, R 2001, 'A Walk in the Parameter Space of L-H Transitions without Stepping on or Through the Cracks', Journal of Plasma and Fusion Research, no. 4, pp. 266-270.
- Ball, R, Dewar, R & Sugama, H 2001, 'Symmetry and singularities in a low-dimensional model of a complex system. A back door approach to the physics of L-H transitions', IPELS-2001, ed. Sato, T., National Institute for Fusion Science, Toki, Japan, pp. 73-76.
- McIntosh, A, Gray, B, Wake, G et al 2001, 'The stability of a near adiabatic Endex batch CSTR reactor', ANZIAM Journal, vol. 43, pp. 59-75.
- Dewar, R, Cuthbert, P & Ball, R 2001, 'Strong "Quantum" Chaos in the Global Ballooning Mode Spectrum of Three-Dimensional Plasmas', Physical Review Letters, vol. 86, no. 11, pp. 2321-2324.
- Ball, R & Dewar, R 2000, 'Singularity Theory Study of Overdetermination in Models for L-H Transitions', Physical Review Letters, vol. 84, pp. 3077-3080.
- Ball, R, McIntosh, A & Brindley, J 1999, 'Thermokinetic Models for Simultaneous Reactions: a Comparative Study', Combustion Theory and Modelling, vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 447-468.
- Ball, R, McIntosh, A & Brindley, J 1999, 'The Role of Char-Forming Processes in the Thermal Decomposition of Cellulose.', Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, vol. 1, no. 21, pp. 5035-5043.
Projects and Grants
Grants are drawn from ARIES. To add Projects or Grants please contact your College Research Office.
- National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network (Secondary Investigator)
- The charXive challenge and the clean coal quest: thermokinetic principles and methods for capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide (Primary Investigator)
- Low-order dynamical models for non-linear fluid behaviour in quasi two-dimensional plasmas (Primary Investigator)
- Studies of Turbulence and Coherent Structures in Quasi Two-Dimensional Plasmas and Fluids (Secondary Investigator)
- Turbulence and Anomalous Transport in Magnetically Confined Plasmas: a theoretical and computational study of transport barrier bifurcations (Primary Investigator)