ACADEMIA

Tom’s academic career began at UC-Santa Barbara (UCSB) where he graduated Cum Laude with a B.S. in Chemical Engr and B.A. in Mathematics-Economics. As an undergraduate student, Tom was active in on-campus organizations serving as an elected officer in the UCSB Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society and member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.  After graduation from UCSB, Tom earned an M.S. in Industrial Engr and Mgt. Sciences from Northwestern University with a concentration in operations research.  Owing to his interest in aerospace, Tom later began his professional career when he joined the Propulsion and Power Division, NASA-Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (NASA-JSC) in Houston, TX.  His first assignments were to provide engineering analysis and test support to the NASA Space Shuttle alkaline fuel cell and cryogenic reactant storage and distribution subsystems.  In that role, Tom began to develop his passion for the fundamental principles of electrochemical engineering as it applies to energy storage and conversion devices.

To further his academic training in electrochemical engineering, Tom began doctoral studies in the Dept. of Chemical Engr at Princeton University and later continued his research at UC-Los Angeles (UCLA) where he studied under Dr. Ken Nobe.  Tom’s research was focused on the physical electrochemical kinetics of nickel in alkaline solutions for applications in nickel-aqueous batteries and alkaline electrolyte fuel cells.  Inspired by Dr. Richard Turco’s (Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences) research in atmospheric kinetics, Tom obtained his PhD minor field designation in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.  As a graduate student researcher, Tom was recognized by the UCLA student chapter of the AIChE with the Excellence-In-Teaching award.

During this same time, Tom was a Member of Technical Staff in the Energy Technology Department at The Aerospace Corporation where he was awarded graduate student fellowships to pursue his PhD at UCLA.  While at The Aerospace Corporation, Tom was assigned to the Battery Evaluation Laboratory where, under the direction of Dr. Albert Zimmerman, he performed custom battery testing, analysis, and engineering evaluations to characterize space-rated rechargeable nickel-hydrogen (Ni-H2), nickel-cadmium, silver-zinc, and sodium-sulfur batteries.  Tom also performed electrochemical testing and analysis on lithium battery cell technologies such as lithium-thionyl chloride, lithium-polymer, and lithium-bromine chloride chemistries.

In October 2020, in conjunction with the Pacific Rim Meeting on Electrochemical & Solid-State Science (Houston, HI), Tom (w/Dr. Joshua Lamb, Sandia Nat'l Laboratories) will be teaching a 1-day short course titled, "Battery Safety and Failure Modes", 

tpbarrera@libxconsulting.com  |  562.480.1851 

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