Texas ranch during an ice storm.

The recent weather events in Texas shocked its entire energy-water infrastructure, leaving more than 4 million homes and businesses without electricity and water, and directly causing more than 50 deaths. The economic cost is estimated at several billion dollars — way more than that of Hurricane Maria for Puerto Rico in 2017. The power grid in Texas was pushed to the brink — at one point, it was less than five minutes from a catastrophic collapse that would have led to weeks of total blackout across the state.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), a nonprofit organization responsible for…


Mohammad R. Jahanshahi, left, an assistant professor in Purdue’s Lyles School of Civil Engineering, and doctoral student Fu-Chen Chen review results using the new system. (Purdue University image/Erin Easterling)

Nuclear power is a vital component of a low-carbon, sustainable energy future. The United States already is the largest supplier of nuclear power, with 99 reactors in 30 states. But our nation has an aging infrastructure, and inspection is crucial to keep current with maintenance, catch issues at the earliest stages, and remediate them for safety and performance.

My Purdue research team is applying deep neural networks to improve inspections.

Traditional inspection is a tedious, time-consuming, subjective — and intermittent — approach that depends on an inspector’s experience and focus on the task. Nuclear reactors are submerged in hot water…


Thermal management facility for ultra-fast charging of electric vehicles

Electric vehicles (EVs) are expected to become dominant in the automobile market in the foreseeable future. This development will require not only a network of charging stations along highways and roads but also faster charge-ups at those stations. In turn, quicker charge-ups will necessitate a significant increase in the electrical current passing through the charging cable — which unfortunately goes hand in hand with a tenfold or more increase in heat. …


Connected Intersection at US 231 and Martin Jischke Drive, West Lafayette, IN

Autonomous and connected systems have captured the imagination and are driving advances in many fields, from mobility to agriculture, robotics, space, and other areas. As the physical world, computing, and networking converge increasingly, it is important to distinguish between autonomous and connected as they relate to vehicles.

Although there is a lot of interest in the efficiencies and opportunities that can be gained through autonomous, or “driverless,” vehicles, there are huge near-term opportunities involving big data coming from connected vehicles driven by humans. …


Transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft launched with the goals of not only increasing convenience and lowering costs for riders, but also solving congestion and energy use concerns caused by low utilization of public transportation and excessive private vehicle ownership. However, we have found that in fact, these TNCs are adding to congestion, energy usage, and emissions.

TNCs connect travelers with drivers on app-based platforms and have expanded rapidly; it’s been reported that such private-ride TNC services as Uber and Lyft have resulted in 180 percent more traffic on urban streets and added billions of vehicle miles traveled…


Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) being used for monitoring early season crop/weed growth

Information technology is remaking every sector of the economy, and agriculture is no exception. In fact, agriculture may be the most vital segment — we all need food, and it must be produced as productively and sustainably as possible to feed an expanding world population. This is all happening in the context of growing world hunger — an estimated 690 million people go to bed on an empty stomach each night, according to the United Nations World Food Programme.

Technology is bringing tremendous advances to the practice of agriculture. For example, take the use of sensors and geographic information systems…


Things get heated in tight quarters, whether it is people crowded in small spaces or miniaturized electronic components packed in products. It’s a particular problem with all the modern electronics in today’s devices and goods, as it can lead to degraded performance, shorter lifespans or outright failure. It’s also an environmental issue — all those electronics are generating heat that dissipates to the surroundings. Plus, extra heat is produced in the process of cooling these systems.

We’re investigating novel cooling techniques to remove heat from confined spaces so innovations in industry sectors like information technology, cloud computing, avionics, and electric…


Purdue University students working in the BAM6QT (Boeing-AFOSR Mach 6 Quiet Tunnel)

There are encouraging signs that we’re finally picking up the pace to realize the promise of hypersonic flight — flight at speeds in excess of Mach 5, more than 3,000 mph. Private sector companies now are pushing to develop this technology, and it’s an exciting time to be in hypersonics because there’s so much interest, both commercial and military.

It’s about time. In Ronald Reagan’s 1986 State of the Union Address, delivered just one week after the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, he said,

“So, yes, this Nation remains fully committed to America’s space program. We are going forward with our…


Millions of people are waiting for a Covid-19 vaccination but how can we make sure enough people get the shot to offer protection to large swaths of society? A variety of factors determine how an epidemic spreads through a society, including how contagious it is, how it affects different groups, and how lethal it is. Another key set of factors is the interventions that the society takes to slow or stop the spread, encompassing receiving vaccinations; wearing masks; and social distancing (six-foot separations, quarantines, lockdowns, etc.).

Policymakers must not only understand the characteristics of an ongoing epidemic but also…


Implantable medical devices are designed to repair, replace, rehabilitate, and ultimately restore lost bodily function, but a newer class of these devices is focused on diagnosis. The emerging devices provide information about what’s happening in the body, and include things like glucose monitors, heart pressure sensors, brain-tissue oxygenation sensors, and neural recording devices. In addition, we are now seeing multifunctional, “smart” implants that not only sense but also treat conditions in a closed-loop response, leading to personalized, precise treatments that target individual needs.

My lab works with clinical partners at Indiana University School of Medicine, Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine…

Purdue College of Engineering

Known as the “Cradle of Astronauts,” with a long list of pioneers includes Neil Armstrong and Amelia Earhart. Ranked Top 10 nationwide by USNWR.

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