James Blackmon, Ph.D.

James BlackmonResearch Professor
Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering


  Technology Hall S233
  (256) 824-5106
  (256) 824-7205
Personal Webpage




  Energy and Kinetics, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, UCLA 
  Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, UCLA
  Engineering, California Institute of Technology


 Dr. Blackmon has over 40 years of experience in space and terrestrial power, thermal management, and propulsion systems.  He is also developing novel RF systems for detection of objects.  He received Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UCLA in 1972.  He is currently a Research Professor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. His awards include American Institute of Aeronautics and Aerospace Holger N. Toftoy award, multiple McDonnell Douglas Aerospace Corporation and Boeing Company awards.  He has consulted for industry in various areas and serves as a Department of Energy (DOE) peer-reviewer for solar power systems. He holds over 30 patents in power, propulsion, RF systems, and thermal management.  His research in power includes development of low cost solar collector systems, advanced optical evaluation systems for solar heliostats and dish concentrators, and advanced concentrators.  His propulsion related areas include propellant acquisition and control in micro-gravity and low-cost, high pressure propellant feed systems.  Dr. Blackmon is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He has graduated three MS students and is currently supervising several graduate students. His recent major research projects include development of low cost heliostats for DOE, high accuracy heat transfer measurements for a local company, and development of a new approach for detecting objects using pulsed , resonant transmission for a major company engaged in homeland security. 

Research Expertise

  • Space and Solar Power Systems
  • Digital Optical Systems for Solar Concentrator Evaluation
  • Thermal Management Systems

Honors & Awards

  • Fellow, Institute for the Advancement of Engineering
  • Associate Fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
  • Boeing Technical Fellow
  • McDonnell Douglas Fellow
  • American Society of Testing and Materials, Sub-Committee Chair of Concentrating Solar Energy Systems Standards.
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Former Member of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Subcommittee for Solar Energy Systems
  • AIAA Holger N. Toftoy Award for "Outstanding Technical Management in the Field of Aeronautics and Astronautics" (1994)
  • Orange County Council Engineering Merit Award
  • McDonnell Douglas General Manager Awards
  • The Boeing Company Special Invention Award
  • American Rocket Society Youth Award

Recent Publications

J. B. Blackmon. Collection of Liquid Propellants in Zero Gravity with Electric Fields. Presented at the First Annual Meeting and Technical Display, Washington, D. C., June 20-July 3, 1964; published in the AIAA Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, June, 1965.

J. B. Blackmon. Initiation of Electroconvection. Symposium on Electrohydrodynamics. International Unions of Pure and Applied Physics and Theoretical and Applied Mechanics Symposium. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Published in Proceedings.

J. B. Blackmon, C. R. Cross, D. E. Hennen, and R. H. McFee. Design and Performance of a Digital Image Radiometer for Dish Concentrator Evaluation. Published in ASME Journal of Solar Energy Engineering, Vol. 1. American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

J. B. Blackmon. Development and Performance of a Digital Image Radiometer for Heliostat Evaluation at Solar One. Published in ASME Journal of Solar Energy Engineering, American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Blackmon, J.B., Caraway, M.J., and Stone, K.W.  “Digital Image Radiometer Applications for Solar Concentrator Optical Evaluation”, presented at the International Solar Energy Society 1999 Solar World Energy Congress, Jerusalem, Israel, July, 1999.

J. B. Blackmon (Subcommittee Chairman), et al. Standard Test Method for Determining Thermal Performance of Tracking Concentrating Solar Collectors. ASTM Designation E-905-82. ASTM Standards, Volume 12.02, Nuclear (11), Solar, and Geothermal Energy). 

J. B. Blackmon. Chapter on Heliostat Design in forthcoming book “Concentrating Solar Power Technology Developments and Applications”, Woodhead Publishing.

Eddleman, D., Blackmon, J., and Morton, C., “Analytical Assessment of the Reciprocating Feed System”, AIAA Paper 2006-4759, July 2006.

Eddleman, D., Blackmon, J., and Morton, C., “Experimental Assessment of the Reciprocating Feed System”, AIAA Paper 2006-5266, July 2006.