FRIB graduate student receives outstanding presentation award at mechanical engineering conference

26 January 2023

Duncan Kroll, a third-year mechanical engineering graduate student in the MSU College of Engineering and part of the MSU Cryogenic Initiative at FRIB, won an award for his student presentation at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) 2022 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition (IMECE) in Columbus, Ohio.

Kroll’s winning presentation, “Modeling Frost Formation in Freeze-out Purification of Gases for Cryogenic Applications,” was awarded the outstanding student presentation at the session on fundamentals of radiative transport and conduction including micro/nanoscale effects. The presentation focused on the fundamental dynamics of frost formation on a cold surface from a low-level moisture-laden helium stream.

This includes investigating the thickness and density of the frost on the cold surface in various conditions. His theoretical work helped understand the effect of several variables on the freeze-out purification process.

“I am honored to win this award and I am proud to be recognized by the community for my work,” Kroll said. “It is a great validation that all my practice and experience has been fruitful.”

Kroll credits FRIB for providing him with the tools to carry out his research. He is currently researching freeze-out purification of helium, specifically on low-level moisture removal for cryogenic applications.

“Duncan’s work has shown the potential to make an impact on the effective design of helium purifiers,” said Nusair Hasan, cryogenics staff engineer at FRIB and Duncan’s advisor. “The presentation on this work during the IMECE 2022 conference was very well received and appreciated in the heat transfer community.”

After completing his PhD studies at FRIB, Kroll plans to have a career in research, development, and design of cryogenic energy systems, either in industry or at a national laboratory.

“FRIB has provided me with the opportunity to do research in an environment that resembles both universities and industry,” Kroll said. “I have been able to study fundamental phenomena, design and analyze large-scale process equipment, and optimize operation procedures.”

About the MSU Cryogenic Initiative

A collaboration between FRIB and the MSU College of Engineering, the MSU Cryogenic Initiative combines classroom education with training on cutting-edge cryogenics, accelerator, and superconducting radio frequency sciences and technology at FRIB. Part of MSU’s top-ranked nuclear physics graduate program, the initiative helps fill a national need to educate and train the next generation of cryogenic system innovators.

In addition to classroom teaching, students in the initiative are trained on cutting-edge technologies and advancements in the cryogenic field that exist at FRIB. The demand for cryogenic engineering support has continued to increase in the last decade. The initiative also engages industry, government laboratories, and other universities in collaborative research in the development and advancement of cryogenic technologies.

Interested students can apply to the MSU Cryogenic Initiative through the appropriate academic department at the following application site:

Michigan State University (MSU) operates the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) as a user facility for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC), supporting the mission of the DOE-SC Office of Nuclear Physics. Hosting what is designed to be the most powerful heavy-ion accelerator, FRIB enables scientists to make discoveries about the properties of rare isotopes in order to better understand the physics of nuclei, nuclear astrophysics, fundamental interactions and applications for society, including in medicine, homeland security and industry.

The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of today’s most pressing challenges. For more information, visit