February 15, 2023

Human power: how steelworkers could make-or-break the renewable energy transition

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.
January 10, 2023

David Warsinger receives $2.4 million to improve industrial drying with membranes

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.
November 1, 2022

Air conditioners that talk to each other could prevent rolling blackouts

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.
October 26, 2022

Drone wings could learn how to sense danger faster using bistable domes

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.
October 18, 2022

New Director at Herrick Labs

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.
September 28, 2022

Tian Li to develop 'living' wood building materials

Tian Li and Fu Zhao are part of a team which has received a $958,000 grant from Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to develop a transformational “living” wood building material, with the strength of steel, self-healing capabilities, and combined carbon-sequestering benefits from wood and microbes.
September 22, 2022

Building-within-a-building enables customized thermal comfort, delivered through the walls

With today’s “smart” homes, you can activate lights and air-conditioning with a simple verbal request. But are these systems really “smart” enough to know which room you’re in? Can they save energy by cooling just one specific corner of the room? That’s the idea behind the Human Building Interactions Laboratory (HBIL), a first-of-its-kind interactive facility at Purdue University that will enable HVAC systems to become truly reconfigurable, right down to the specific wall panels.
August 24, 2022

Purdue house runs entirely on DC power: efficient nano-grid can be powered by solar panels, batteries or local utilities

Did you know there’s a silent war going on inside your home? Alternating current (AC) electricity comes in from the grid, but many of your appliances and lighting run on direct current (DC). Every time you plug in a TV, computer or cell phone charger, power must be individually converted from AC to DC – a costly and inefficient process. Purdue University researchers have proposed a solution to the problem by retrofitting an entire house to run on its own efficient DC-powered nano-grid.
June 30, 2022

Werner Soedel (1936-2022)

Werner Soedel, who served as a professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue for 41 years, has passed away.
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