Advanced Colloids Experiment-M-1 (ACE-M-1) - 12.03.13
Science Objectives for Everyone
Colloidal gels define the microstructure of materials, including many consumer products. This often determines the product shelf life. Products are often structured by attractive forces between constituent particles (solids, vesicles, drops) in the form of weak, flowable colloidal gels. These structures change in time, by processes know as coarsening. When the structures created in the products can no longer support the gravitational stresses (e.g. buoyancy) on the structures, they collapse. The collapse is often abrupt and without warning (delayed collapse). This is the essence of product instability.
Science Results for Everyone
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)Sponsoring Organization
Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)Research Benefits
Information PendingISS Expedition Duration:
September 2012 - March 2014Expeditions Assigned
33/34,37/38Previous ISS Missions
Recent work (Lynch, Weitz) demonstrates that polydispersity, or inconsistent sizes of particles in the polymer, makes a huge difference in the time scale of collapse of weak gels. In many cases the time scale is in orders of magnitude. Polydisperse (real-world) systems are complicated and not well understood. There are at present no basic measurements/theories that allow us to understand the role of polydispersity in these processes.
To control these systems, an understanding of the evolution (coarsening) of microstructure is required. On earth this process occurs on a timescale of minutes due to gravitational sedimentation; while on the International Space Station (ISS) the timescale will be several days to a week in duration. Microgravity is required to detach phase separation from coarsening. This is crucial for the practical application of these concepts to product design, as products are inherently polydispersed--the basic need.Description
Colloidal stability is critical to soft matter systems, as it relates to products. These products are often structured by attractive forces between constituent particles (solids, vesicles, drops)--in the form of weak, flowable colloidal gels. These structures change in time, by processes know as coarsening--meaning the particles move under thermal motion to compact. This compaction continually changes this structure. When the structures created in the products can longer support the gravitational stresses (e.g. buoyancy) on the structures, they collapse. The collapse is often abrupt and without warning (delayed collapse). This is the essence of product instability.
Information PendingEarth Applications
In the scientific community, there is a large disconnect between microscopic structure and dynamics of these mixtures to the macroscopic changes in the structure which lead to collapse. Understanding this relationship may enable us to anticipate instability in products; directly relating to multi-million dollar products and initiatives.
- One experiment per week; duration of 3-4 days. Repeat until all ten wells tested.
- Switch Sample Modules if air bubbles too big.
- Skip ops second week to analyze data, re-write scripts, adjust parameters.
- # wells per experiment limited by:
1. Data bottlenecks on IPSU and IOP
2. XY position repeatability (need to return to the same particle set or don’t move during experiment => one well position. This takes too long, so find a solution. Images can be registered in post-processing via port or stir bar location, or pattern of particles stuck to bottom of cover slip.
3. Oil availability – too much repeat movement from well to well may lose immersion, so limits test points; air objective has no such constraints.Operational Protocols
- Inspect Samples
- Ground to choose first Sample to test; feedback to crew.
- Mix using drill BCAT magnet for 30 seconds.
- Apply oil in AFC and install assembly.
- Define XYZ offsets (assembly alignment per ACE-1 method).
- Adjust camera parameters using 2.5x objective and B/S cube (Filter #6).
- Survey well at 2.5x; determine primary (and secondary?) test locations (select locations away from stir bar or bubble).
- Adjust and record best camera parameters using 63x oil objective and FITC filter (Filter #3).
- Adjust and record best camera parameters using 63x oil objective and Texas Red filter (Filter #4).
- Survey and record best z depth at each primary test location.
- Experiment on one well using 63x oil objective; each images set at 1 fps, no binning, 8 bpp (highest supported), full frame images. Store 500 images using FITC filter, Store 500 images using Texas Red filter
- Repeat at 20-minute intervals
- Complete upon dynamics evaluation by PI (estimate 3-day duration) Imaging goal is to resolve particle centroid positions with less than 20% error. Shutter lamp between image sets to prevent sample bleaching. Repeat of cycles is desired every 60 minutes, but desired as often as every 20 minutes.