Research: Expanding the boundaries of science and technology

Few colleges can match the depth and breadth of Purdue Engineering’s research capabilities and talent. We are focused on 21st century impact — leading the way in reshaping the research universe through discovery and innovation.

Bringing 'space trash' safely back to Earth

Talk about space junk. Orbital debris from spacecraft, the defunct satellites and fragments of spent rockets left suspended in Earth’s atmosphere, are slowly making their way back to Earth. Objects usually return after a few years, but debris trapped in higher orbits can remain for more than a century.

Why is this important?

“There are a number of high-value orbits that have become so populated with defunct satellites and debris spacecraft that they’re approaching a tipping point,” Spencer said. “Once that tipping point is reached, a cascade of uncontrolled collisions can occur, rendering the orbit unusable. And into the mix the thousands of satellites that companies plan to launch into orbit in the next several years, and the problem becomes much worse.”

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Research on clots could make pancreatic cancer more treatable

You’re experiencing jaundice, abdominal pain or constipation. And by then, you may be too late. Pancreatic cancer symptoms often arrive after the cancer has already spread, making the disease one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in the U.S.

The team – which includes researchers from Purdue University, the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the Indiana University School of Medicine and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill – is studying the relationship between clots and pancreatic tumors in both animal and human tissue samples through the support of a $4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

What the team finds could lead to improved therapies for patients suffering from pancreatic tumors.

"Pancreatic cancer promotes blood clot formation, and then these clots make the cancer develop faster, which prevents drugs from controlling tumor growth," said Bumsoo Han, professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University and program leader of the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research.

"Our idea is to study this process by use of engineered tumor models mimicking the pancreatic duct," he said.

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Solar power accounts for less than 2 percent of U.S. electricity but could make up more than that if the cost of electricity generation and energy storage for use on cloudy days and at nighttime were cheaper.

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