56-year-old Ramin Ansari had a long and successful career before deciding to enroll for a Ph.D. at Purdue University. He was surprised to learn that graduate students are eligible to participate in the Purdue Grand Prix, the prestigious annual go-kart race. So he assembled a team of fellow Herrick Labs students to make it happen.
There's a battle going on to create more efficient and environmentally friendly refrigeration and air-conditioning systems. But what if those systems are needed on an actual battlefield? The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has enlisted Herrick Labs to explore refrigerants that are both sustainable, and safe to operate in combat conditions.
Greg Shaver doesn’t believe there should be a trade-off between protecting the air we breathe and achieving better engine efficiency of large vehicles on the road. Shaver, a mechanical engineering professor and director of Purdue’s Ray W. Herrick Laboratories, is part of a national effort researching the reduction of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and microscopic particle emissions and improving the efficiency of diesel engines on the road today.
Switching to renewable energy is an important step to reducing the effects of climate change, especially in heavy industry like steel mills. But while many choose to focus on technological advancements alone, it’s the steelworkers themselves who will ultimately make-or-break this transition away from fossil fuels. A new research project from Herrick Labs assistant professor Rebecca Ciez combines both technology and sociology – studying how the steelworkers of the future will be affected by electrification.
Dehydrating is a vital part of many industrial processes, from food to chemicals to pharmaceuticals. Unfortunately, industrial drying processes require huge amounts of heat, which wastes valuable energy. David Warsinger’s team is developing a new system that will reduce 50-80% of that energy usage using vapor-selective membranes.
When we turn on the air conditioner, we seldom think about the hundreds of other air conditioners in our neighborhood that may also be turning on simultaneously. At these peak demand times, local power grids are susceptible to brownouts and other issues. But Kevin Kircher of Herrick Labs has proposed a simple solution: air conditioners that talk to each other. By distributing the times at which electrical loads turn on – even by a few seconds – power grids can be much more robust against these issues, with no discernible impact to the end user.
The oddly satisfying small domes that you press on your soda’s to-go cup lid may one day save a winged drone from a nosedive. Patterns of these invertible domes on a drone’s wings would give it a way to remember in microseconds what dangerous conditions feel like and react quickly. The study, conducted by Andres Arrieta, is among the first demonstrations of a neuromorphic metamaterial, which uses its shape to learn how to adapt to its surroundings on its own.
The Ray W. Herrick Laboratories have new leadership. Jeff Rhoads, who has held the position of Director of Herrick Labs since 2019, has stepped down to pursue another opportunity on campus. Effective Monday, October 24, Greg Shaver will become the new Director of Herrick Labs.