HVAC & Refrigeration   

Buildings consume 40% of the country’s energy. That’s why Purdue conducts vital research in heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, refrigeration, and compressors. Not only does HVAC research affect energy and the environment, but human-building interactions can show how people function more efficiently, more happily, and more safely in high-performance buildings.

Since 1958, Herrick Labs has been the leading testbed in this field, and is now the largest academic HVAC lab in the world. In addition to labs for compressors and refrigeration, they also host Living Labs, which allow human-building interaction studies with precise controls of temperature, humidity, light levels, airflow, and acoustic treatments. Every two years, Herrick Labs hosts one of the largest international conferences in Compressor Engineering, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, and High Performance Buildings.

Faculty in Thermal Systems

  • Modeling, analysis, and control of thermal systems
  • Indoor and outdoor airflow modeling by computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and measurements
  • Building ventilation systems
  • Indoor air quality (IAQ)
  • Energy analysis
  • Thermal sciences as applied to HVAC&R systems and equipment
  • Dynamic modeling and optimal control; model predictive control; decentralized control
  • Thermodynamics-based optimization; entropy generation minimization; exergy analysis
  • Integrated energy management and storage in distributed energy systems, building systems
  • Desalination & Water Treatment
  • Water-Food-Energy Nexus
  • Thermofluids
  • Nanotechnology
  • Membrane Science
  • Electronics cooling and packaging
  • Phase-change transport phenomena
  • Microscale and nanoscale surface engineering for enhanced thermal transport
  • Energy efficiency in thermal systems
  • Transport in porous materials
  • Microscale diagnostics and sensing

Research Areas