Applied Thermofluids Laboratory

Applied Thermofluids Laboratory


Applied Thermofluids LaboratoryThe Applied Thermofluids Laboratory (ATFL) at Purdue conducts basic and applied research in the thermal-fluid sciences: thermodynamics, heat transfer, and fluid mechanics. We study a wide range of research applications, from safety of lithium-ion batteries to dehydration of food products. Students working in this lab benefit from a highly team-oriented approach to problem solving. And, students have the opportunity to publish their work in engineering journals and present their work at conferences. To solve the thermal-fluids challenges posed by industry and government sponsors, students will utilize a combination of experimental and computational research methods. Students will strengthen technical skills as well as skills in communication, writing, presenting, data analysis, and interpersonal relationships. Through this approach, students graduating from ATFL will enter their next career as a more well-rounded engineer and technologist.



Research and Teaching

Battery Safety

Li-ion batteries produce heat and gas under certain abuse conditions. We study phenomena such as the onset of thermal runaway, the subsequent venting process, and heat transfer from failing cells to their surroundings.  In ATFL we conduct research on advanced numerical modeling and simulation techniques to predict the fire risk associated with Li-ion batteries.  Experiments, including destructive tests contained in the blast chamber shown at right, are used to parameterize and to validate models.

Engine and Powertrain Technology

Purdue Polytechnic has a new instructional facility, the Powertrain Technology Laboratory, located in the new Gateway building.  Students will learn fundamental operating principles of combustion engines, in addition to sustainability topics such as electrification and alternative fuels.  The state-of-the-art facility will provide an unparalleled, hands-on-experience for students to run engines used in today's (and tomorrow's) vehicle propulsion systems.




We are grateful to acknowledge our sponsors and partners for their support.

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April 9, 2024: Congrats to Mark Wise, Akshay Padmanabhuni, Lance Berendes, and Nick Baehl on presenting their research poster at the 2024 Purdue Undergraduate Research Symposium!  These students researched three novel heat sinks designed for metal additive manufacturing.


June 9, 2023: Dr. Ostanek presented ATFL research on Fluid Mechanics of Venting in Small Format Li-ion Cells at the 2023 Battery Safety Workshop in Charlotte, NC.


April 12, 2023: Dylan Poe passed his MS thesis defense!  Congrats Dylan!  


April 11, 2023: Collin Sinclair passed his MS thesis defense!  Congrats Collin!  


October 20, 2022: We published a paper on impingement heat transfer related to vented gas jets emerging from a failing Li-ion battery.  This is the first study of its kind experimentally measuring the impingement heat transfer rates for these jet flows!  The paper is available for download for a limited time, here.


August 5, 2022: Weisi Li graduated with his PhD in Technology!  Congrats Weisi!


December 7, 2021: Check out our open-access publication on CFD simulations of venting in Li-ion cells.


November 23, 2021: James Rieser passed his MS thesis defense!  Congrats James! 


November 4, 2021: Beau Burbrink passed his MS thesis defense!  Congrats Beau!  


July 14, 2021: Luis Maldonado passed his MS thesis defense!  Congrats Luis!  


May 27, 2021: We added two new li-ion battery vent cap CT scans to our publicly available database.  Download the LG M36 cap and the K2 18650E cap.


May 15, 2021: It's official... Purdue Polytechnic is now an NSF REU Site providing a unique research experience for undergraduate students.  Learn more and apply here.


May 3, 2021: Luis Maldonado passed his MS proposal!  Congrats Luis!


April 12, 2021: Dr. Ostanek received the Purdue Teaching Academy's Award for Exceptional Teaching and Instructional Support during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Thank you to those supporting Dr. Ostanek for this award!


April 9, 2021: Weisi Li passed his PhD preliminary exam!  Congrats Weisi!


January 26, 2021: Our new CFD meshing PC has arrived.  Our large-mesh simulations will be no problem now!


January 18, 2021: Two undergraduate research assistants are joining ATFL this semester.  Dylan Poe and Connor Pierson are both working on Li-ion battery safety.  Welcome to the group!


November 19, 2020: Carl Shi has passed his MS Thesis defense!  Congratulations Carl!


November 16, 2020:  Weisi Li and Luis Maldonado gave a virtual presentation on their research projects at the 2020 ASME IMECE conference.  Nice job!


October 27, 2020: Computed tomography scans of li-ion battery vent caps are now publicly available for download.  Two battery caps are available: MTI 18650 and LG MJ1.


September 24, 2020: Dr. Ostanek and Luis visited the DigIndy tunnel for a photo shoot with our sponsors at Citizens Energy Group. 


September 12, 2020: Weisi's paper was accepted for publication "Comparison of Current Interrupt Device and Vent Design for 18650 Format Lithium-ion Battery Caps", Journal of Energy Storage.  Congrats, Weisi!


August 31, 2020: Dr. Mohammad Parhizi joins ATFL as a post-doctoral researcher, focusing on li-ion battery safety.  Welcome, Dr. Parhizi!

ATFL in the News

NSWC Crane collaborates with Purdue researchers to build battery lab testing capability, enhance battery performance Posted on: October 07, 2022

Purdue Polytechnic’s Jason Ostanek is collaborating with colleagues at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) on research to establish laboratory testing capability, enhance performance and improve the safety of lithium-ion batteries.

Realizing the Digital Enterprise researchers pair technology, social responsibility Posted on: April 06, 2022

Purdue Polytechnic faculty in the “Realizing the Digital Enterprise” research impact area are working to pair technological capability and social responsibility, creating successful cyber–physical experiences.

Interdisciplinary research explores the power – and limitations – of lithium ion batteries Posted on: September 07, 2021

Mohammad Parhizi, a post-doctoral research assistant, is studying the behavior of lithium ion batteries to determine how they perform under stress. Parhizi’s research could lead to safer batteries for industry, government and the military. 

Facility Location Faculty Contact
KNOY 102 Jason Ostanek