UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Horacio Perez-Blanco, a professor of mechanical engineering at Penn State for 27 years, will retire at the end of June.
Perez-Blanco focused his research and teaching on major energy systems and thermofluid sciences. He presented and published extensively, including the 2009 book, “The Dynamics of Energy.” In 2002, he was named a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and was a longtime member of the American Society of Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Engineers. Among his many professional accolades is a first-place Technical Paper of the Year at HydroVision International in 2014.
Perez-Blanco developed two instructional laboratories to help students better understand energy conversion in the real-world, including the Texaco Energy Lab and the Miniature Gas Turbine Lab, where students actually operated a small gas turbine.
Looking back on his long career, Perez-Blanco reflected on what was most meaningful.
“The thrill of teaching is to try to enable people to create new technologies for the betterment of mankind,” he said. “When I see engineering that is exciting for people, when you can create good things to sell them to people, things that they want, that make them happy, that is satisfying and I tried to pass that on to my students.”
“Seeing the graduate students with whom I had the privilege of working achieve positions of leadership in academia and industry has been most rewarding,” Perez-Blanco said.
One research project that was particularly satisfying for Perez-Blanco was published in 1998. Working with student Bor-Bin Tsai, the two created a vibrating film screen that greatly increased heat transfer in lithium-bromide water absorbers and spawned an associated mathematical model.
“We overcame all the major obstacles: ways to ascertain absence of non-condensables under vacuum, producing simultaneous heat and mass transfer rates of compatible magnitudes, and designing and operating a…