Research Opportunities

Interested researchers of all types should fill out this survey. Opportunity details below.

Graduate & Postdoctoral Research

The Warsinger Lab is recruiting largely in two areas right now (PostDocs, PhD’s, M.S.), which will have some overlap, and typical co-publication:

1) Desalination Integrated with Renewable Energy for Rural Communities:

Overview: The work will be on making renewable energy-water micro-grids in remote regions, and tailoring technology solutions to treat a wide variety of water contaminants. In doing so we will need to design technologies (water, wind, etc), create novel membranes, assess contamination, and develop implementation strategies that work with local communities in Peru.

Research Specifics: For the water treatment part of this project, we will be developing novel technologies and materials for the intermittent nature of renewable energy micro-grids. Specifically, we will focus on designing batch reverse osmosis which includes varying energy demand, and also paired with salinity-gradients energy storage. Thermodynamic modeling will be used to optimize novel hybridization with solar and wind power. Other technologies to be studied include UV disinfection, carbon nano materials for electro-oxidation, and pretreatment. Project affiliations: Warsinger LabC4EArequipa Nexus Institute.

Desired Skills: Several PostDoc positions are to be filled, therefore, we are looking for engineers (mechanical, electrical, materials, hydraulics, chemical, civil) as well as environmental specialists (occurrence of contaminants), and the social sciences (for implementation). Candidates should have a strong background in mathematical modeling, experiment design, and writing for high-impact journals. Fluency in both English and Spanish is an advantage. ~4 PostDoc positions.

2) Membrane Distillation Desalination: Efficiency, novel materials, and piloting

Summary: The goal of this project is to design, optimize, and demonstrate a world-class membrane distillation system for remediating high-salinity flowback water. The effort will optimize thermodynamics & heat transfer, design and recommend materials, predict conditions to minimize membrane fouling, and eventually implement one of the largest MD systems (4,000 m3/day). The work will be done with a team of PhD’s, 2 PostDocs, several visiting students, a collaborating university, and industry collaborators.

Desired Skills: PostDocs should be comfortable with designing experiments, prototyping, simulation (e.g. MATLAB, EES), working with a team, frequent travel, and should have strong thermodynamic and heat transfer intuition and/or deep knowledge of water treatment. Ideal candidates should be proactive, creative, and skilled writers who can produce both working apparatuses and high-impact papers. 2 PostDoc positions.

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Additionally, flexible supplemental funds are also available for students with fellowships. Notably, PhD students from the lab will have an interesting academic lineage.

Visiting Students

Visiting students (grad or undergrad) are strongly encouraged, and are usually funded from their home institution or country, although the Warsinger Lab will assist with funding applications such as through Fulbright. Ideally visiting students develop or are part of collaboration plan with their home Principle Investigator, begin their work well before their arrival, and stays of >9 months are needed for reasonable productivity. For accepted visiting students, detailed visa steps are here.

Undergraduate Research

New positions: Warsinger lab is actively recruiting undergraduates. Multi-time period commitments are preferred (e.g. Summer and Fall). Most students work for credit: Paid positions are usually reserved for increasing lab diversity to those who cannot afford not to do paid work, although pay is also possible to recruit exceptional upperclassman.  Two of the openings, related to membrane distillation apparatus creation and nanomaterial membranes, are at this link.

Type of Undergraduate work: A wide variety of experience is possible, including apparatus building and testing, machining, running experiments, controls work, technical writing, patents, academic diagrams, data analysis, and mathematical modelling. New positions include all areas mentioned on the research page.

Ensuring undergraduate success: David tries to find opportunities for students to be coauthors on conference and journal papers. Occasionally he has even taken undergrads to conferences. To ensure long-term success of mentees, David will do award nominations, recommendation letters, and long-term career advice. Past undergrads have received awards from their work with David including the MIT MechE superUROP award, the MIT Peter Griffith Prize, and shared awards including the Best Poster Presentation Award at the ACE15 Conference in Anaheim, California. Past undergrad mentees have gone off to graduate school at MIT, Stanford, UMD, etc, and have gotten jobs at companies including SpaceX, Stroud, ExxonMobil, RWL Water, International Development Enterprises (iDE), and the PA Consulting Group.

Study abroad: We are doing another research study abroad this summer (June 3-20th) on water-energy microgrids in Peru. We still have openings and are hoping to admit most applicants. All students attending will have the option of staying for the rest of the summer doing research for credit. Apply here.

Promoting Diversity

The Warsinger lab emphasizes diversity in recruitment, and strives to represent groups of different ethnicity, socioeconomic background, gender, and country of origin. The lab also strives to create a supportive environment for different cultures, religions, and the LGBTQ community. Beyond the obvious diversity, current and incoming members collectively speak over a dozen languages, and include first generation college students and members from developing countries. We believe that diverse perspectives enhance scientific creativity.

Types of training

The Warsinger lab aims to support two primary focus of training: a scientist track and a entrepreneurship track. Projects types, skill development, recommended goals, and career planning help focus on these two areas.

Why join Purdue and the Warsinger lab?

Purdue University is a leading institute for mechanical engineering (ranked 6th currently) and nanotechnology (consistently top 7) ¹ ².  The lab's home, the Birck Nanotechnology Center, is the cornerstone of Purdue's Discovery Park, which itself has been ranked the top university research park. Through these institutes, Purdue links university research to interdepartmental collaboration and industrial implementation. Purdue is also well-known for Heat Transfer Research (Warsinger’s teaching area): about 70% of undergrad institutes use the textbook by Purdue faculty Incropera and Dewitt. Purdue is located between Indianapolis and Chicago. The cost of living is exceptionally low as well, with housing costs from $400-650/month, and the lowest graduate tuition of any top 10 school.