Professor Borman’s research concentrations included the internal- combustion engine, lubrication, spray vaporization, and cycle analysis. His keen intellect, coupled with a strong analytical background, gave him insight into the processes occurring in the engine and propelled him to the pinnacle of his field. He was acclaimed for activities in engine modeling as well as for fundamental experiments. His pioneering work in thermo-dynamic analysis of engines led to an analysis technique known as heat-release analysis. This analysis procedure has been adopted by every internal combustion engine manufacturer in the world. It is now a standard component of every engine data analysis package sold today. His insight into the thermophysical processes within the engine resulted in novel measurements of temporally and spatially resolved heat flux within the cylinder, oil film thickness measurements between the piston rings and the liner of a firing engine, and integrated time-resolved, in-cylinder nitrogen oxide measurements of an operating diesel engine. This latter work was recognized by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) with the Horning Memorial Award, an award for the best technical paper of the year in the area of combustion and fuels.
Professor Borman was dedicated to his profession as an educator and a public servant to the university and the technical community. He co-authored a graduate level textbook, Combustion Engineering, with Professor Ken Ragland. He regularly taught heat transfer, thermodynamics, and combustion.
Working with Professors Phil Myers and Otto Uyehara, he helped the engine research program at the university grow from a collection of individual faculty with research contracts into the internationally recognized Engine Research Center. He served as its first director from 1986 to his retirement in 1994. Professor Borman advised 40 master of science mechanical engineering, and 21 Ph.D. students.
He was a fellow of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and served on the Board of Directors of SAE. In 1965, he received the SAE Ralph R. Teetor Award, in 1966 the SAE Arch T. Colwell Merit Award, and in 1978 the SAE Harry L. Horning Memorial Award. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering