NE welcomes new faculty members Hitesh Bindra and Xiaoyuan Lou
Hitesh Bindra will join NE as an associate professor. He was previously a faculty member in the School of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Kansas State University since 2014. He received his PhD in nuclear engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2010. His research interests include nuclear reactor safety, basic thermal-fluid sciences, statistical learning and energy storage. His teaching interests include reactor engineering, thermal hydraulics and reactor safety.
Before transitioning to academia, Bindra spent several years as a nuclear power plant engineer and thermal analysis engineer at the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, eSolar, and Caterpillar, gaining key industry experience. During the last eight years, he has led multiple federal projects for the US Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission involving fluid mechanics and thermal transport problems related to water-cooled or advanced nuclear reactors. Bindra is the Director of the Nuclear Energy Systems Transport (NuEST) laboratory. He has invented and developed thermal stratification-based heat storage technology ideal for integration with nuclear hybrid energy systems.
After joining NE, he plans to expand these capabilities into a pilot scale advanced reactor and heat storage test facilities. “The School of Nuclear Engineering has a rich legacy in the area of nuclear reactor thermal hydraulics and reactor safety, particularly related to water-cooled reactors,” he said. “I will develop a world-class laboratory at Purdue University to advance the deployment of next generation nuclear reactors including small-modular reactors and microreactors. In addition, I plan to develop and demonstrate energy storage technologies to integrate with and improve the dispatchability of clean nuclear energy."
Xiaoyuan Lou will join NE as an associate professor. Before Purdue, he was an associate professor in the Department of Materials Engineering at Auburn University from 2018 to 2022 and a lead nuclear materials scientist at GE Global Research from 2011 to 2017. He earned his PhD in materials science and engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2010. His research interests include advanced manufacturing of structural alloys, degradation mechanisms of nuclear materials in nuclear environments, and advanced corrosion and radiation resistant alloys and composites.
Among his accolades, Lou has received the Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award from the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn University, the Best Paper Award from the Journal of Nuclear Materials, Top Cited Paper from the International Journal of Plasticity and Journal of Nuclear Materials, three GE Corporate awards, and the Harvey Herro Award from NACE International. He also serves as an Editorial Board Member for Scientific Reports and ASTM Materials Performance and Characterization.
"I am looking forward to the new era of my career at Purdue," he said. "Working together with world experts in different fields at Purdue; It is my hope to establish Purdue as a go-to place for nuclear advanced manufacturing.” In the future, Lou's research group will primarily concentrate on two areas: (1) Developing and qualifying advanced manufacturing technologies to support the deployment of future reactor designs; (2) Exploring new alloy design concepts to improve the degradation/damage resistance.
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