Dr. Ruggles works in high performance hear transfer devices, including accelerator targetry design, power reactor design and research reactor design and safety assessment. His research group has contributed experimental data to validate the uncertainty of codes used in performance assessment of power systems, including the Westinghouse AP 600/1000 reactor design, the GE BWR steam supply, the Spallation Neutron Source target system, and the international fusion materials irradiation facility. The group develops instrumentation approaches suited to opaque fluids and complex geometries, and currently is refining Positron Emission Particle Tracking methods for flow measurement.
The thermal fluids research group engages in balanced experimental and computational simulation campaigns to advance knowledge and develop models to support system design. Students engage in both experimental and computational activities, broadening their experience and improving their ability to contribute to engineering design activities. Dr. Ruggles incorporates decision theory and alternative hypothesis testing in his research and teaching to control cognitive bias impacts on research and learning outcomes. He engages in efforts to improve decision making and prioritization in policy and resource allocation for reactor safety. Dr. Ruggles is active on the ASME Verification and Validation Standards Committee for Reactor Systems Safety Codes.