The Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering

Lunar Sample

Lunar Sample Through the generosity of Martha Chaffee, former student in Purdue's radio and television program, a sample from the moon is on display in the atrium of Armstrong Hall.

Martha Chaffee is the widow of Roger Chaffee (BSAE '57) who was one of two Purdue alumni to die during a simulated test for the Apollo I mission. She acquired the lunar sample through NASA's Ambassadors of Exploration program. The NASA program allows each astronaut, or his survivor - from NASA's Gemini, Apollo and Mercury programs - the right to donate to the educational institution of his or her choice a piece of the 842 pounds of lunar samples and soil collected during six lunar missions.


A soaring atrium within Armstrong Hall highlights significant Purdue Engineering achievements - from Neil Armstrong's first step on the moon to construction of the Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam.

Future and current engineering students and visitors will be inspired by the promise of engineering wonders to come. The building's design showcases the vitality and importance of engineering in our changing world.


Located outside of the southern entrance to Armstrong Hall, the 1000 square foot terrace is designed to be an oasis where students can gather informally, or sit quietly and read. The terrace also provides an attractive space for special events hosted by the College of Engineering. The space can accommodate a tent approximately 15' x 30'.

The terrace is surrounded by 2000 square feet of landscaped space, including planted trees and ground cover of native ferns, all of which are strikingly up lit at night.

Team Learning Modules

Team Learning Module A key feature of Armstrong Hall is the concept of Team Learning Modules, where students experience the entire engineering life-cycle.

This concept addresses a common theme emanating from our alumni and industry advisors. Industry is demanding engineers who have traditional technical expertise along with design and build experience, often on industrial scale projects, and who can work in diverse teams.

Further, the Team Learning Modules showcase an exciting new kind of engineering education. Instead of the traditional separation of lecture halls and laboratories, Team Learning Modules are adaptable and link classrooms and other collaboration spaces with design and fabrication areas.

AAE Drop Tower

A four-story high drop tower is part of the experimentation within the Aerospace Two-Phase Flow Lab. This unique feature of the Armstrong Hall of Engineering allows students to study the effects of microgravity on physical phenomena such as combustion and fluid dynamics. In this way, students are able to perform experiments in conditions similar to those in the space shuttle and International Space Station.

Structural Dynamics Lab

This 1400 square foot facility provides students with a hands-on opportunity for learning about the most recent technologies and new cutting-edge techniques to study structural dynamics.

The latest equipment for recording ultra-dynamic events is available to students, faculty, and researchers. Major equipment includes Norland and Nicolet digital recorders, a one-million-frame-per-second dynamic camera, impact gun, and various computer peripherals for data acquisition.

The primary research interest is in the impact of structures and the analysis of consequent stress waves.

Fatigue and Fracture Lab

The Fatigue and Fracture Laboratory (approximately 1200 square feet) is designed to conduct research directed at evaluating the damage tolerance properties of materials and components.

Much of the work performed in this lab is concerned with the effects of loads on aluminum in aircraft structures, which came to the limelight in 1988 with the Aloha Airlines accident. In addition, similar work can also be performed on other materials used in structures, such as steel, titanium, or plexiglass.

This lab features two computer-controlled electro-hydraulic test machines (11,000 and 22,000 lb. capacity).

Aerodynamics Laboratory

In the 1100 square foot Aerodynamics Laboratory teams of students perform a progression of experiments in aerodynamics.

Student teams work on experiments involving small bench-top wind tunnels, a Mach 2.5 wind tunnel, compressible flow facility, high contraction wind tunnel, shock tube, table-top experiments and instrumentation.

In addition, Aerodynamics research directed toward a better understanding of the fundamental laws governing the flow of fluids is conducted within this lab. Research topics of potential interest include: numerical methods in aerodynamics; computational fluid mechanics; separated flow around wings and bodies at high angles of attack; aerodynamics of rotors and propellers; boundary layers, wakes and jets in V/STOL applications and aerodynamic noise; experimental measurements using laser systems; laminar-turbulent transition in high speed boundary layers.

Control Systems Lab

The Control Systems Laboratory is designed to enhance student awareness of control systems by providing hands-on experience using dynamic systems representative of air and space vehicles.

This 900 square foot laboratory is equipped with a Helicopter Experiment and a Rotational System, both of which let students experience first-hand the challenges of linking a control system to a physical model. Students utilize this facility to design a control system from start to finish by mapping requirements into control solutions through the process of modeling, identification, and controller design (PID and Lead-Lag).

Propulsion Laboratory

This Propulsion Laboratory is comprised of approximately 750 square feet to perform laboratory experiments involving static testing of propulsion systems. With two test stands, one for rocket testing and one for air breathing propulsion testing, groups of students utilize this facility each semester to gain insight into propulsion system testing procedures and data reduction techniques.

These facilities allow for collaboration among other researchers, students and faculty from the propulsion areas across campus. This unique facility is highly beneficial for students of rocket propulsion and energy conversion. This space is used for a variety of Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering classes to explore possible breakthroughs within the scope of propulsion research.

X-Ray Diffraction and Optical Microscopy Labs

The School of Materials Engineering operates several laboratories for characterization of the properties and structure of materials. Several X-ray diffractometers are available, including one with an advanced area detector. The X-ray Diffraction Lab allows for a broad range of x-ray diffraction capabilities (approximately 1500 square feet), including the use of a synchrotron beamline.

A dedicated thermal analysis lab includes a new simultaneous Differential Thermal Analysis/Thermogravimetric Analysis (DTA/TGA) instrument, along with several other individual DTA, TGA, and calorimeters and a high-temperature dilatometer. Facilities are also available for detailed studies of diffusion phenomena in materials.

Separate facilities for light microscopy feature two high performance optical microscopes with digital camera and computerized stereological image analysis system.

Processing and Mechanical Testing Labs

Materials processing equipment includes approximately 700 square feet of special facilities for deformation processing, powder processing, solidification processing, and vapor processing.

Deformation processing equipment includes a 2/4 HI rolling mill, wire drawing bench, and extrusion facilities. Powder processing apparatus includes a 30 ton/2200C hot press, a 2500 oC tungsten or graphite high temperature furnace, particle sizing, and consolidation equipment. Solidification processing equipment includes high frequency induction melting furnaces, melt spinning, and casting facilities. Finally, vapor deposition processing facilities include evaporative and sputtering systems, et al.

The mechanical testing facilities are highlighted by three computer-controlled machines for mechanical testing. Two MTS 810 servohydraulic systems and a Sintech screw-driven machine are utilized for mechanical testing and evaluation of metals, ceramics and polymers in laboratories and research projects. Available accessories include hydraulic collet grips and a wide range of load cells and extensometers.

One of the servohydraulic machines is outfitted with a new Centorr `Testorr' furnace which has temperature capabilities up to 2500 C. in vacuum or inert gas and can be outfitted with either graphite or tungsten elements. This unit has been used for testing and processing of structural ceramic materials. The other servohydraulic system is outfitted with a 1700 C air furnace and is used to perform mechanical tests and high temperature extrusion of superconducting materials.

Electron Microscopy Labs

The School of Materials Engineering is home to the Purdue-wide Center for Electron Microscopy, which includes an atomic resolution Transmission Electron Microscopes (TEM), a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) equipped with energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer, an Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope (E-SEM), and an Electron Microprobe capable of quantitative chemical analysis at the 1 \265m scale. The facility also includes state-of-the-art equipment for specimen preparation of both hard and soft materials.

Live remote operation of our microscopes places a "virtual" electron microscope in any lecture room. Students are able to observe the full capabilities of the instruments from a remote classroom, rather than in a cramped lab, craning over one another's shoulders, and without compromising the performance of the instruments. Students benefit from the most advanced instrumentation in the world, operated at peak performance and efficiency.

In the research arena, the provision of state-of-the-art microscopy facilities enhance all our research programs, but more notably this facility enables remote collaborations around the world, based at Purdue. This makes it possible for Purdue to be a hub for selected areas of research.