Dr. Steven Penoncello conducts his research in the Center for Applied Thermodynamics Studies (CATS), an interdisciplinary research center that focuses on the determination of thermophysical properties of fluids of scientific and engineering interest. He has been involved in CATS since 1983 and is currently director of the center.
Dr. Penoncello’s research includes the development of equations of state and transport property correlations for many fluids including air, hydrogen, natural gas mixtures, cyclic hydrocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and several refrigerants. The results of this research are published in archival scientific journals such as the Journal of Physical and Chemical Reference Data and the International Journal of Thermophysics. Dr. Penoncello is also involved with the design, building, and application of apparatus for the measurement of thermophysical properties. Currently, the CATS laboratory has a single-cell ebulliometer for the measurement of vapor pressures of fluids from room temperature up to about 3 MPa. Other equipment in the lab include a metrology bath and standard platinum resistance thermometers for calibration of temperature detectors, a high-accuracy dead weight gauge for calibration of pressure sensors, and a magnetic suspension microbalance with a sensitivity of 1 microgram. In addition to this major equipment, the lab maintains a collection of scientific instrumentation for data acquisition and analysis.
Graduate students are involved in every aspect of the research in CATS. They are involved in the analytical work of developing equations of state and various correlations. They are also the major players in the design, building, testing, and application of experimental apparatus for thermophysical property measurement.
Undergraduate students are also welcome in CATS. Depending on their level of study, undergraduates can be involved in tasks ranging from literature searches and data input to laboratory experimentation and data analysis.