A history of partnerships
Herrick Labs has always combined the best of industry with the best of academia. This partnership began in the 1950s, when Purdue mechanical engineering professor William Fontaine imagined a thesis-oriented lab funded by industry, where graduate students would work on real-world industry projects. He found a willing collaborator in Raymond W. Herrick, a pioneer in the air-conditioning industry and founder of Tecumseh Products. Herrick supplied the money for Purdue students to tackle the industry issues of heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and refrigeration. Now Fontaine needed a building.
The most readily available space was a 1920s-era horse barn on the south end of campus. In another unique partnership, Purdue's School of Agriculture and School of Mechanical Engineering formed an interdisciplinary arrangement to research the effect of climate on livestock and agricultural production. In 1958, Herrick Labs officially opened, with Fontaine as the director. They soon found that introducing chicken coops to sensitive HVAC test equipment was, as they say, not all it's cracked up to be. Herrick soon took over the entire facility, and the research focus shifted more to human comforts and high performance equipment.
Thanks to support from Raymond Herrick and the Herrick Foundation, Purdue's Herrick Labs became a premier research facility in the fields of refrigeration and air-conditioning. Research into compressors and vibration led Herrick to delve further into acoustics, noise, and vibration, and soon the former horse barn boasted anechoic chambers and sensitive sound equipment. From buildings and equipment, researchers began exploring noise and vibration issues of cars, airplanes, road materials, and other transportation issues. Through it all, Herrick has maintained its equal ties to the academic universe and the real-world needs of industry.
In the 21st century, technology has made quantum leaps forward -- and Herrick is dedicated to keeping high-performance building science on that cutting edge. In 2013, Purdue constructed a $30 million state-of-the-art building for Herrick Laboratories, bringing its total space up to 83,000 square feet. The LEED-Gold certified building is also itself a Living Laboratory, with more than 1,000 sensors precisely monitoring every aspect of its heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and utility usage. Building on its expertise in refrigeration, Herrick now studies all aspects of human-building interactions -- from indoor air quality to small-scale vibration and noise studies. Transportation also continues to be a focus, as Herrick hosts state-of-the-art engine test cells.
Herrick's original commitment to partnering with industry remains as strong as ever. Since 1972, Herrick has hosted international conferences in noise control, compressor engineering, and sustainable buildings. In 2015, they founded the Center for High Performance Buildings, which brings together the top minds in industry and academia to develop, demonstrate, evaluate, and deploy new technologies for high-performance buildings.
Herrick Directors Past and Present
The mission of Herrick Labs:
An institution dedicated to graduate education through engineering research with emphasis on technology transfer.
The vision of Herrick Labs:
To overcome the barriers between knowledge creation, transfer and utilization for the advancement of society.
We're just getting started at Herrick Labs. While most research now takes place in the 2013 state-of-the-art building, the acoustics facilities are housed in Herrick's original 1920s-era horse barn. Phase II of Herrick's expansion will bring the acoustics wing into the new building, with brand new custom-designed sound-testing facilities. Want to get involved? Find out more here.
Herrick Labs • 177 S. Russell St., West Lafayette, IN 47907-2099 • (765) 494-2132 • email@example.com