Alexander J. Headley

Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering

(901) 678-3468
Engineering Science Building, Room 322A
Office Hours
Headley photo

About Dr. Alex Headley

Dr. Alex Headley joins the Herff College of Engineering as an assistant professor in Mechanical Engineering after gaining experience in industry and the national laboratory system. Dr. He received his BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Kentucky in 2008 and started his career as a research and development engineer at Lexmark International, Inc., where he gained three years of valuable experience in algorithm development and fluidic system design for manufacturing.  After this, he returned for graduate study at the University of Texas at Austin. His Master’s and PhD research focused on developing control-oriented models of the dynamic response of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells for automotive applications. From UT, Alex went to Sandia National Laboratories as a postdoc developing thermal/fluids experiments and evaluating energy storage systems for grid support, integrated system design and the development of demonstration facilities for grid-connected energy storage.


Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, May 2016
M.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, May 2013
B.S., Mechanical Engineering,  University of Kentucky, 2008


University of Memphis, Herff College of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Assistant Professor, August  2020 - current
Sandia National Laboratories
Diagnostic Science and Engineering Department
Postdoctoral Appointee, September 2016 - September 2018
Energy Storage Technology and Systems Department
Postdoctoral Appointee, September 2018 - July 2020
Environmental Science Institute  (ESI)  GK-12
University of Texas/ Manor New Tech HS
Scientist in Residence, August 2014 - June 2015
Lexmark International Inc.
Advanced Inkjet Technology Division
Hardware Engineer Band II, June 2008 - January 2011

Research and Scholarly Activities

Research Interests

Dr. Headley’s research at Herff will focus on expanding the use of alternative energy sources by researching innovative ways of designing and controlling energy systems for the electric grid and beyond.


Headley, A., Randolf, G., Virji, M. and Ewan, M., 2020. Valuation and cost reduction of behind-the-meter hydrogen production in Hawaii. MRS Energy & Sustainability, 7.

Headley, A.J. and Copp, D.A., 2020. Energy storage sizing for grid compatibility of intermittent renewable resources: A California case study. Energy, 198, p.117310.

Headley, A., Hileman, M., Robbins, A., Piekos, E., Fleig, P., Martinez, A., & Roberts, C. (2019). A thermal conductivity model for microporous insulations in gaseous environments. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 135, 1278-1285.

Headley, A. J., Hileman,  M. B., Robbins,  A. S., Piekos,  E. S., Stirrup,  E. K., & Roberts, C. C. (2019). Thermal conductivity measurements and modeling of ceramic fiber insulation materials. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 129, 1287-1294.

Headley, A. J., Gross, M., & Chen, D. (2017). "Membrane Electrolyte Assembly Health Estimation Method for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells." Journal of Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage, 14(4), 041008.

Headley, A. J., Chen, D., & Li, W. (2017). "Non-uniform control volume sizing methodology for relative humidity control of  proton exchange membrane fuel cells." International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 42(36), 23170-23179.

Headley, A., Yu, V., Borduin, R., Chen, D., & Li, W. (2016). "Development and Experimental Validation of a Physics-Based PEM Fuel Cell Model for Cathode Humidity Control Design." IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, 21(3), 1775-1782.

Headley, A. J., & Chen, D. (2015). Critical control volume sizing for improved transient thermal modeling of PEM fuel cells. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 40(24), 7762-7768.

Yu, V., Headley, A., & Chen, D. (2014). A constrained extended Kalman filter for state-of-charge estimation of a vanadium redox flow battery with crossover effects. Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement, and Control, 136(4), 041013.

Technical Reports

Mills, B., Headley, A., Steady-State and Transient Evaluation of the Advective Bar Element Model, Sandia Report

Headley, A., Martinez, A., Jones, E., Torcynski, J., Nemer, M., Chojnicki, K., Report on Lab-Scale Salt Fall Experiments: FY18 Fluid Dynamics Task Support for U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, August 2018

Headley, A., Piekos, E.,  Martinez,  A.,  Roberts,  C.,  Thermal  Conductivity Modeling of Molten Salt Battery Insulation Using an Effective Porous Medium Theory, Sandia Report, SAND2017-8105, July 2017

Long, K., Fenton,  K., Roberts,  C., Wong,  D., Grillet,  A.,  Headley,  A., Ingersoll, D., Open Stack Battery Tests, Sandia Report, SAND2017-3953, April 2017

Technical Presentations
Headley, A., Hansen, C., Nguyen, T., Maximizing Revenue from Electrical Energy Storage Paired with Community Solar Projects in  NYISO  Markets,  Presented  at: 51st North American Power Symposium (NAPS); October 2019; Wichita, KS

Headley, A., Maximizing Storage Value in Regional Markets and the QuESt App, Presentation at the Second Southeast Energy Storage Symposium on Policy and Regulation; 2019; Birmingham, AL

Headley, A., Maximizing Value of Solar and Energy Storage Installations in NY, Presented at the 2019 PV Systems Symposium; 2019; Albuquerque, NM

Ehrhart, B., Klebanoff, L., Hecht, E., Headley, A., Ng, M., & Markt, C., Impact of Hydrogen for Rail Applications, U.S.  Department  of  Energy's  (DOE's) H2@Scale Initiative, DOE's Fuel Cell Technologies Office H2@Rail Workshop; 2019; Lansing, MI

Headley, A., Maximizing Cost Savings with Optimal  Energy  Storage  Dispatch, Clean Energy States Alliance  Webinar  -  "Oregon's  New  Energy  Storage  Project for Resiliency and Cost Savings." (2018).

Headley, A., Robbins, A., Hileman,  M., Roberts,  C., Piekos,  E., Fleig, P.,  Solich, R.,  Martinez,  A.,  Experimental  Characterization  and  Modeling  of  Thermal Battery  Insulation  Materials,  Presented  at:  48th  Power  Sources  Conference (PSC); June 2018; Denver, CO

Headley, A., Hileman, M., Robbins, A., Roberts, C., Thermal Conductivity Measurements and Modeling of Ceramic Fiber Insulation Materials, Presented at: ASTFE 2018 3rd Thermal and Fluids Engineering Conference (TFEC); March 2018; Fort Lauderdale, FL

Headley, A., Gross, M., Chen, D., Membrane Electrolyte Assembly Health Estimation for PEM Fuel Cells, Presented at: ASME 15th  International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology; June 2017; Charlotte, NC.


Hutchison, G. L., James III, E. H., Williamson, R. S., & Headley, A. J. (2012).
U.S. Patent Application 13/530,196. "Peristaltic pump for imaging apparatus"