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Hydrogen Properties for Energy Research (HYPER) Laboratory Cool. Fuel.

Come join the HYPER Center!

We use HYPER- as a prefix for a reason, we’re rapidly changing. What started in 2010 as the first and only cryogenic hydrogen research lab in US academia is expanding into the first cryogenic hydrogen research center in the world. Why the change? New HYPER faculty and staff.

New Faculty

Professor Konstantin Matveev has joined HYPER as a faculty affiliate. Konstantin’s expertise is fluid-surface phenomena that he investigates using experimental, reduced order modeling, and computational fluid dynamics techniques. Two-phase hydrogen is notoriously difficult. Konstantin has previous experience with cryogenics having completed a post-doc at Los Alamos on thermoacoustic cryocooler systems.

The School of Mechanical … » More …

A good bit of kit

Engineers are expensive. It’s my job to train them to be effective returns on that investment. If you hired an engineer to perform a task, and they showed up without the proper instruments, tools, or equipment for a specific purpose, would you hire them again? Enter a wonderfully simple word:

There might not be a more simple, yet important word in the English dictionary. You’re likely benefiting from kits of various forms right now and unaware:

Lunch box
Dresser» More …

Code to code. Build to build.

A sage mentor once told me, “Write code to write code.”

The most valuable part is not the outcome of the code itself. The biggest effort multiplier is the process that allows the code to be made by many others in an error-proofed way. Writing code to write code not only accomplishes what you originally set out to do, but trains many how to do the same years into the future.

Learn one. Do one. Teach one.

So when I tell the lab that we need more workspaces, I’m not telling them to build a workbench, testbench, designbench, or studybench. I’m telling them “build to … » More …

What our alumni say

The WSU Media team recently became the first outside group allowed to shoot onsite in Blue Origin’s 20 year history. HYPER alumni had a few important things to say. Check out the first highlight video and the following three individual alumni feature videos for Jordan Raymond, Ron Bliesner, and Chelsea Crabb. You’ll find out why they chose to study the coolest fuel in the universe (hydrogen) at HYPER and why you should too!

Doing our best

Two months ago I was at a WSU Women’s Basketball game with my 9 year old. Trailing most of the game, they fought back and missed a shot to tie at the buzzer.

9 year old: “What was the point? They lost anyways.”

Me: “They kept fighting until the end. They did their best. All you can do is your best.”

9 year old: “But how do I know if my best will be good enough? What if it isn’t?”

Me: “You don’t know. You can’t control whether your best is good enough. All you can control is whether you are doing your best. See … » More …

Cool Fuel: The class I needed

(This is a preprint of my column “Cool Fuel” for Cold Facts, the magazine of the Cryogenic Society of America.)

Flash back for a moment to that time in college when the professor had a typo on the assignment that caused you to lose a night in frustration. Anger, fatigue, and disrespect come to mind as you stormed to class the next day, handed in the assignment, and pointed out the mistake, now corrected. The professor, unmoved by the display, proceeds to pull up the original research publication on which the assignment was based, where the same error appears, an error, sans erratum, that … » More …

A key difference between science and engineering

… is practice.

We have a rule in the lab that any demonstration must first be trialed at least 5 times without error before being made public.

Why 5? 5 is a common threshold to begin using statistical methods to establish confidence (a.k.a. coverage factors and uncertainties).

In science, a single test can show a phenomena, verify a theory, and increase understanding of the Universe.

Engineering though, doesn’t care so much about understanding, as much as reproducibility. That that something, based on science, can be done over and over again, including by the public, without fail.

A key difference between science and engineering is practice. … » More …

Codependence in the development of people and teams

WSU may be the best developmental engineering program in the Western US. Nowhere else will you find a more rural Research 1 class institution that is typically viewed as the #2 school in the state. These two defining traits are directly aligned with our Land-Grant founding mission to bridge the technoeconomic urban versus rural divide. Where some schools just process through people who were already performers, WSU must reap the seeds we sow. Said simply, we’re going to do our best to develop you into your best. Since we’re the only liquid hydrogen research focused lab in US academia, everyone coming in the door … » More …

Some Suggestions and Feedback

I spent this morning combing through survey evaluations that included feedback from students, faculty, staff, external stakeholders, and administrators. It was amazing that many of the groups (save the administrative pool) demonstrated the same key feedback faults. Since quality  feedback is essential for continuous improvement, I have some suggestions for you who are about to complete end-of-semester evaluations (only if you want them to have an impact and cause change):

Identify your goal — it’s often clear when someone is venting to try to help themselves feel better. But, I still believe that people feel better in the long run when they see decisive … » More …