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.

21st century global impact

  • Purdue Engineering research has global significance both in its direct impact and in expanding collaborations and exchange programs. Professor Ahmed Hassanein, the Paul L. Wattelet Distinguished Professor and Head of Nuclear Engineering, is internationally recognized for his modeling and experimental research in response of materials to intense radiation, particularly under harsh environments. His US team and international colleagues lead an NSF PIRE project that focuses characterizing materials behavior under extreme conditions and development of revolutionary super-resistant materials to operate in these environments. It is the first such NSF funded international research and education project awarded to Purdue. The project is headquartered at Purdue's Center for Materials under Extreme Environment (CMUXE). The international team consists of major universities and research institutions in Germany, Ireland, Japan, and Russia. Purdue CMUXE graduate and undergraduate students frequently conduct research in these countries using state-of-the-art facilities. Several graduate and undergraduate students have won multiple national and international awards as a result of their research under this NSF PIRE project.
  • Carol Handwerker, the Reinhardt Schuhmann Jr. Professor of Materials Engineering, and John Sutherland, the Fehsenfeld Family Head of Environmental and Ecological Engineering, are part of a national research hub focused on developing solutions to the shortages of rare earth metals and other materials critical for U.S. energy security. She is also PI for an NSF IGERT grant that is developing a new integrative model for graduate research and education to enable meaningful and measurable improvements in the global sustainability of electronic products.
  • Our faculty are also developing future engineering leaders. John H. Lumkes Jr., associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering, received the Global Engineering Impact Award for his work in helping Purdue Engineering students become future global problem solvers. Lumkes leads a global design team of students who recently developed a low-cost utility vehicle using local materials to support developing African nations.
  • The Colombia Purdue Institute (CPI) is a visible manifestation of our commitment to global research with impact. The Institute’s mission is to cultivate leaders who will drive economic prosperity through innovation in science, technology, policy and education. Purdue Engineering faculty partner with researchers across the University to collaborate with faculty at Colombian universities on a range of projects including catalysis, sustainability and engineering to mitigate the impact of natural disasters.

Purdue Engineering is growing — and seeks to change the world through this expansion. Our growth will enable groundbreaking discoveries and innovations.

Overview of our research

Solving complex, integrated problems is a current thrust in the CoE. Working with our Preeminent Teams and industry partners, we are leveraging our strengths to create interdisciplinary collaborations that address these challenges:

  • Partnering with industry and campus teams to deliver inventions to the market
  • Establishing a systems collaboratory
  • Growing global fellows and exchange programs

From atomic-scale breakthroughs in nanotechnology to system-changing solutions that ensure global sustainability, Purdue Engineering is focused on day-to-day achievements and committed to tomorrow’s solutions.

Purdue Engineering is also developing facilities to foster creativity and support innovation:

  • The Maha Research Center was formed in 2004 to research energy-saving hydraulic drive systems and the development and optimization of pumps and motors. The Maha Center has played a strong roll in the Fluid Power ERC.
  • The Indiana Manufacturing Institute, slated to open in 2016, will provide critical space in the Purdue Research Park for expanded research of composite materials manufacturing. The Institute is part of a $259 million national initiative to develop the manufacturing technology for more energy-efficient vehicles, compressed-gas storage and wind energy systems.
  • The Birck Nanotechnology Center, located in Discovery Park, is using additional space to create innovative solutions through advances in nanoscale science and engineering. Recent projects include a $2 million roll-to-roll lab for advancing sensors, pharmaceuticals and consumer products using flexible hybrid electronics.