NFPA Commits to Growing University Fluid Power Programs

The NFPA Education and Technology Foundation is committed to supporting university fluid power education and programs across the country. While NFPA has awarded various grants over the years, the University Fluid Power Grant Program is specifically designed to provide funding to faculty to implement new and/or add more fluid power courses and content to their undergraduate agricultural and mechanical engineering programs.

Funding for workforce development programs such as the University Fluid Power Grant are made possible in thanks to NFPA’s Pascal Society donors who provide critical program funding each year.

NFPA awarded the following schools with the University Fluid Power Grant this year:

  • Murray State University
    • Project lead: Jake Hildebrant, Assistant Professor in Electromechanical Engineering Technology,
    • Grant funds will be used for expanding fluid power curriculum included in the lecture and lab to students enrolled in Engineering Physics—Mechanical Engineering (ME) and/or Agriculture Systems Technology (AST) by purchasing two hydraulic trainers. The AST program does not include fluid power curriculum, and it is identified as a competency needed for graduates. NFPA funds will fulfill this discrepancy. This will benefit the ME program by allowing students to take this course as an elective to better understand applications. Additionally, students enrolled in the Electromechnical Engineering Technology program will be able to use the trainers to apply fluid power theories in laboratory settings.
  • Purdue University Northwest
    • Project lead: Ali Alavizadeh, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering Technology,
    • Grant funds will be used for the purpose of: 1) To develop advanced lectures on circuit design and analysis, as well as various components (accumulators, proportional valves, etc.) 2) To provide relevant hands-on lab activities to support and demonstrate lecture materials. By taking the course, students will be able to: 1) Draw a hydraulic/pneumatic circuit using standard symbols and to describe what the circuit does. 2) Explain how such components as accumulators, proportional valves, simple and pilot relief valve, solenoid valves, and transducers work and function in a system. 3) Design, analyze, and assemble various hydraulic and pneumatic circuits, such as reciprocating and regenerative circuits in conjunction with Siemens software. 4) Work in a team to complete a term project that include the design, analysis, and assembly of a hydraulic/pneumatic circuit using knowledge and tools learned throughout the course.
  • University of Kentucky
    • Project lead: Joe Dvorak, Ph.D., P.E., Associate Professor & Director of Undergraduate Studies,
    • Grant funds will be used for expanding fluid power curriculum included in the lecture and lab to students enrolled in University of Kentucky’s BAE 515: Introduction to Fluid Power course by updating the laboratory training benches that are used for weekly labs. Grant funds will be used to purchase electric solenoid-controlled valves. This will let students develop a solid foundation using manual control, and then gain experience with the same systems using electrical control. Students will get to explore the unique circuit options that are provided using electronic feedback and control. This course should hopefully significantly increase the number of students in the course from three or four to 15 or even more per semester.

NFPA is currently accepting applications for the University Fluid Power Grant Program for the 2020-21 fiscal year. If your company knows a university that can benefit from this funding, please encourage them to apply here or contact Amy Zignego at

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