Skip to content Where Legends Are Made
College of Engineering

Directory profile for Dr. Richard D. Branam

Picture of Dr. Richard D. Branam
  • 222 Hardaway
  • Phone (205) 348-3233
  • Fax (205) 348-7240
  • Email
Request a Directory Profile Update

Dr. Richard D. Branam

Associate Professor


  • 222 Hardaway
  • phone (205) 348-3233
  • fax (205) 348-7240
  • Email


  • Ph.D., Aerospace Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, 2005
  • M.S., Aeronautical Engineering, Air Force Institute of Technology, 1997
  • B.S., Aeronautical Engineering, Ohio State University, 1993

Dr. Richard Branam teaches and researches in several areas of space propulsion. His lab actively investigates plasma thrusters, cathodes and laser diagnostics. He has worked with NASA and the U.S. Air Force on several collaborative projects.

He joined the faculty at The University of Alabama in 2014 after 25 years in the Air Force where he served as a researcher and engineer. His Air Force career has provided him with many unique experiences in the areas of space propulsion, systems engineering and program management.

He received his doctorate from Penn State University in 2005. His first faculty appointment was at the Air Force Institute of Technology. Branam has published research on rocket engines, combustion, laser diagnostics, hypersonics, space propulsion, and plasma dynamics.

Affiliated Areas
Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics

Selected Publications

  • McConnell, M. and Branam, R., “Coolant Design System for Liquid Propellant Aerospike Engines,” American Physical Society, Division of Fluid Dynamics 68th Annual Meeting, November 22-24, 2015.
  • Stevens, B. and Branam, R., “3-Dimensional Aerospike Nozzle Design,” American Physical Society, Division of Fluid Dynamics 68th Annual Meeting, November 22-24, 2015.
  • Thomas, L., Branam, R., and Reeder, M., “Flow Measurements Using Particle Image Velocimetry in the Ultracompact Combustor,” International Journal of Aerospace Engineering, Vol. 2012, Article ID 756463, 13 pages. doi: 10.1155/2012/756463
  • Kostka, S., Branam, R. D., Renfro, M. W., Lakusta, P. J., Gord, J. R., and Roy, S., “Laser-induced Fluorescence Measurements of Product Penetration within an Ultra-Compact Combustor,” Journal of Propulsion and Power, v. 28, 2012, pp. 617-624. doi: 10.2514/1.58692
  • Hartsfield, C., Branam, R., Hall, J. and Simmons, J., “Aerospike Rockets for Increased Space Launch Capability,” Air and Space Power Journal, Vol. 25, Issue 2, Summer 2011.

Awards and Honors

  • Associate Fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2008
  • Meritorious Service Medal, 2006
  • Harold C. Simmons Award, Best International Liquid Atomization and Spray Symposium Presentation, 2004
  • Air Force Commendation Medal, 2002, 1999, 1996
  • International Exchange Officer Top Researcher, 2002

Dr. Branam's Impact

Dr. Ajay Agrawal standing in a lab with a lot of pipes in the background

NASA Selects UA Engineering Research Team for New Space Travel Program

NOTE: This story was written before the novel coronavirus pandemic. NASA has chosen The University of Alabama as one of 14 universities in its new program to innovate space travel....

Two engineering students (man and woman) with a blue wall behind them

UA STEM Students among Nation’s Top 20 in 20s

Two University of Alabama College of Engineering students are among the nation's top 20 science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, students in their 20s.

Read More News about Dr. Branam

The University of Alabama     |     The College of Engineering