Monday November 26, 2012

World-Class Researcher

The University of Dayton mourns the loss of Dilip Ballal, an internationally renowned and brilliant fuels researcher.

A visitation and funeral service will be held Wednesday, Nov. 28, for Dilip Ballal, an internationally renowned University of Dayton fuels researcher who directed the Hans von Ohain Fuels and Combustion Center at the University of Dayton.

Visitation will be from 1 to 2 p.m., with services beginning at 2 p.m. at Newcomer Funeral Home, South Chapel, 3940 S. Kettering Blvd. in Kettering. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Dr. Dilip R. Ballal Memorial Tribute Fund at

Ballal, who died Friday, Nov. 23, also served as division head for energy and environmental engineering at the University of Dayton Research Institute and the Hans von Ohain Distinguished Professor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. His distinguished 40-year career included experience in fuels, gas-turbine combustion, emissions and related research in academia and industry.

Ballal joined the University of Dayton in April 1983 as group leader for Fuels and Combustion at the Research Institute and, in 1999, was named the University's first Hans von Ohain Distinguished Professor. During his nearly 30-year career at the Research Insitute, Ballal helped garner more than $130 million in Air Force funding for research and development in synthetic, alternative and blended fuels as well as technologies to improve combustion and thermal management and reduce emissions.

Under his leadership, research activities in fuels and combustion grew extensively, enabling the creation of the energy and environmental engineering division at the Research Institute in 2003. That same year, Ballal was named director of the University’s new Hans von Ohain Fuels and Combustion Center, named after propulsion pioneer Hans von Ohain, co-inventor of the jet engine. The continued growth in fuels research also necessitated the opening of the Fuels and Combustion Laboratory at the Research Institute’s Shroyer Park Center, dedicated to fuels and combustion, environmental engineering and bio-environmental research.

“Dilip enjoyed his work second only to his family,” said John Leland, director of the Research Institute. “His technical leadership was matched by his ability to lead and work with his colleagues and customers. He was a gentleman in the truest sense of the word — he spoke his mind but always in the kindest and most professional of ways.”

Tony Saliba, dean of the School of Engineering, described Ballal as “a brilliant man, researcher and faculty member. In talking or working with him, you would not know of the international reputation he had for excellence in his field. He was a true role model with a humble spirit, a love for the UD family, and a remarkable ability to build bridges across units within the University and beyond the walls of our campus. No words can ever describe the wonderful person Dilip was and the life-changing influence he had on so many of his students and colleagues.”  

Ballal enjoyed international renown as a leading fuels researcher. In 2011 he received the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) R. Tom Sawyer Award, the organization’s highest international award in gas-turbine technology. In 2010 he was named the first Pratt & Whitney Distinguished Chair (Visiting) Professor in Gas Turbine Engineering at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) recognized Ballal in 1993 with the National Energy Systems Award for outstanding research in gas turbine combustion and again in 2000 with the Propellants and Combustion Award for outstanding contributions to combustion science and jet fuel technology.

Ballal was elected an ASME fellow in 1992 and an AIAA fellow in 1993. He was a senior vice president for the ASME Institutes Sector Board, a member of the board of directors of the ASME-International Gas Turbine Institute, the International Combustion Institute (Central States Section) and NASA combustion research and development committee. He also served as editor-chief of ASME’s Journal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power.

Ballal graduated with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1967 from the College of Engineering in Bhopal, India. He earned a master's degree in 1968 and a doctorate in mechanical engineering in 1972 from the Cranfield Institute of Technology in Cranfield, England, which also awarded him a doctor of science degree in 1983 for his "original and outstanding research contributions." Prior to coming to Dayton, Ballal held positions at the General Motors Research Laboratories, Purdue University and the Cranfield Institute of Technology.

Ballal is survived by his wife, Shubhangi; son and daughter Rahul and Deepti; daughter-in-law Sonia; granddaughters, Sameena and Shyla; and other family and friends.

Contact Pamela Gregg, communication administrator in the University of Dayton Research Institute, at 937-229-3268.