First Name
Middle Name
Last Name
Professor Emeritus
Office Room
Hennings 261
Tel (Office)
(604) 822-9714

Master's Degree
Unijversity of Kiel, Germanny, (Diplom, Physics)

Doctoral Degree
TH Muninch, Work doen at the MPI Plamaphysics, Graching

Employment History
  • Research Assistant, MPI Plamaphysics, 1960-1964
  • Instructor II,  UBC Physics  1964-1965 
  • Assistant Professor UBC Physics  1965-1968
  • Assoc Professor, UBC Physics  1968-1972
  • Professor, UBC Physics  1972-1995
  • Professor emeritus    1995

Committees and Service
  • Acting Director, Engineering Physics Programm 1977-78 (started the Engineering Physics Project lab APSC 459)
  • Acting Director, Engineering Physics Programm 1983-84


Personal Information

Marital Status: married
Children: 3
Home Address: 3934 W20th Ave. Vancouver

Research Field
(1)Open flow systems with energy flow

Research Topics
(2)Plasma dynamics, shock-, detonation-, blast-, and heat waves, plasma jets, electric arcs, thermodynamics, grid turbulence in water, zoological physics, astronomical plasma flow systems.

Selected Publications

Plasma physics

B. Ahlborn and R. Wienecke:" Bestimmung der Zähigkeit eines Lichtbogenplasmas im Temperaturebereich zwischen 5000 und 10000 °K. Z. Physik. 165, 491-501 (1961).

B.Ahlborn, A.J. Barnard and H. Campbell: "Field strength of pulse mercury arcs" Can. J. Phys. 43, 670-675(1965).

B. Ahlborn:" Densities of interstellar hydrogen clouds:" Can. J. Phys. 46, 1661-67. (1968).

B. Ahlborn: " Fronts of (interstellar) HII regions", Physica 41, 190-192 (1969).

M.T. Churchland, R.A., Nodwell, and B. Ahlborn, "Electron temperatures in a high current arc", Phys. Lett. 40a, 233-4 (1972).

4. B. Ahlborn: "Trigger criterion for steady fusion detonations in D-T ice". Phys. Let. 37a, 227- 228 (1971).

.J.D. Strachan and B. Ahlborn: "Overdriven supersonic heat waves", Austr. J. Phys. 28, 395-402 (1975).

N.Tait, F.L.Curzon, and B.Ahlborn: "Breakdown characteristics of water walled arcs", J.Physics D: Appl.Physics 21, (1988) 1645-1646.

Shock waves and detonations

B. Ahlborn and J.P. Huni:" Detonation driven shocks of high Mach number" J. Appl. Phys. 40, 3402-3404 (1969).

B. Ahlborn and E. Richter: "Dispersion of strong shock waves by radiative energy transfer", Can. J. Phys. 48, 1365- 69 (1970).

S. Mikoshiba, and B. Ahlborn: "Compression of matter to super-high densities by an accelerating heat wave" P. Fluids. 17, 1198-1206 (1974).

B. Armstrong and B. Ahlborn, "Multi shock compression", Appl. Phys. Let. 29, 239-241 (1976)

B. Ahlborn, and S. Ariga "Blast waves with heat transfer" P.Fluids. 20, 18-26 (1977)

B. Armstrong and B. Ahlborn, "Charteristics of electro-thermal shock tubes p 615-621. ,", Proceedings of the 11 Int, Symposium on shock tubes and shock waves Seattle 1975,

B. Ahlborn, A. Herzberg, and D. Russell: “Shock tubes and shockwave research” Proceedings of the 11 International Symposium on Shock Tubes and Shock Waves, Seattle 1975 (1978) Page 1 -688 University of Washington Press, Seattle and London.

J.B. Pearson, J. Kwan, and B. Ahlborn. "Electrical power extraction from standing shock waves", Appl. Phys. Lett. 37, 755-757 (1980).

N.H. Burnett, G. Josin, B. Ahlborn, and R. Evans, "Generation of shock waves by hot electron explosion driven by a CO2 laser", Appl. Phys. Lett.. 38, 226-228, (1981).


B. Ahlborn “heating of fluid flows with variable specific heats: {Über die Aufheizung von Strömungen mit veränderlichen specifischen Wärmen} Ph. D Thesis Technische Hochschule München (1964)

F.L. Curzon, and B.Ahlborn: “Efficiency of Carnot Engine at maximum power output” Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 43, p 22-24 (1976)

E. Rebhan, and B.Ahlborn: "Frequency dependent performance of a non ideal Carnot engine", Am. J.Phys. 55, 423-428 (1987).

B. Ahlborn, J.U. Keller and E. Rebhan "The heat pump in a vortex tube"

J.Non Equilibr. Thermo Dynamics 23, 159-165 (1998).

B. Ahlborn, and J.M.Gordon. "The vortex tube as a classic thermodynamic refrigeration cycle" J.Applied Physics. 88,3645-3653, (2000).

B. Ahlborn, and F.L Curzon "Time scales for energy transfer"

".J.Non Equilibr.Thermodyn , 29, 301-312,(2004)

Turbulence and vortex shedding

B. Ahlborn, F. Ahlborn, and S. Loewen: "A model for turbulence based on rate equations". J.Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 18, 2127-2141, (1985).

S. Loewen, B. Ahlborn, and A.B. Filuk: "Statistics of surface flow structures on decaying grid turbulence". P.Fluids 29, 2388-2397 (1986).

B. Ahlborn, M. Lefrançois, and Mae Seto: "Energy cascade mechanism for fully developed turbulence", Phys Let, 150, 286-289 (1990).

B. Ahlborn, N. Kevlahan, and M. Lefrançois: "Coherence energies of turbulent flow", Physics Essays,4, p 406-416 (1991)

B. Ahlborn, M. Seto and M. Lefrancois: Energy Storage and exchange mechanisms in turbulent media J.Non Equilibr. Thermo Dynamics 16, 319-341 (1991).

B. Ahlborn, M. Lefrancois, and H.D. King "The clockwork of vortex shedding"

Physics Essays, Vol 11,No1, 144-154, (1998)

B.R. Noack, M. Schlegel, B. Ahlborn, G. Mutschke, M. Morzynski, P. Compte, G. Tadmore “A Finite Time Thermodynamics of Unsteady Fluid Flows”. J.Non. Equilibr. Thermodyn, (2008), 33pp.103-148,

B. Ahlborn , Mae Seto and B.Noack, “On drag, Strouhal number, and vortex street structure”. Fluid Dynamics Research.30, 379-399, (2002).

Zoological Physics

B. Ahlborn, Zoological Physics, Textbook for Phys 438/Biology 438

430 pages, Springer Verlag 2004, and 2006.

B. Ahlborn, S. Chapman, R. Stafford, R.W. Blake, and D. Harper, "Experimental simulation of the thrust phases of fast-start swimming of fish " J. Experimental Biology,200,2301- 2312 (1997)

B. Ahlborn, and R.W. Blake "Lower size limit of aquatic mammals", Am.J.Phys. 67, 920-922 (1999).

B. Ahlborn, "Thermodynamic Limits of Body Dimension of Warm Blooded Animals" .J. Non Equilibr. Thermodynamics , 25, 87-102. (2000)

B. Ahlborn, D. G. Harper, R. W. Blake, D. Ahlborn, and M. Cam: "Fish without Footprints", J.Theor. Biol. 148, 521-523 (1991)

B. Ahlborn, R. W. Blake, and W. M. Megill ’’Frequency tuning in animal locomotion’’ Zoology, 109 (2006), 43-53.

B. K. Ahlborn, R.W. Blake, and K H.S. Chan “ Optimal fitness ratio for minimum drag in large whales” Can J, Zool, 87, 124-131 (2009)