NanoRacks-Minnehaha Christian Academy-Coalescence of Water-Based Latex Polymers (NanoRacks-MA-Latex Polymer Coalescence) - 09.17.14

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery
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Science Objectives for Everyone
NanoRacks-Minnehaha Academy-Coalescence of Water-Based Latex Polymers (NanoRacks-MA-Latex Polymer Coalescence) tests the coalescence of polymers at different glass transition temperatures in space. The investigation tests the way polymers (the basic unit of paint) form on a molecular level in microgravity on the International Space Station (ISS) compared to Earth’s gravity.  Polymer samples are analyzed with a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). 

Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending



The following content was provided by Minnehaha Academy, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Experiment Details

OpNom NanoRacks Module-22

Principal Investigator(s)

  • Minnehaha Academy , Minneapolis, MN, United States

  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
  • Sam Terfa, Minnehaha Academy, Minneapolis, MN, United States
  • Nancy Cripe, MS, Minnehaha Academy, Minneapolis, MN, United States

  • Developer(s)
    NanoRacks, LLC, Webster, TX, United States

    Sponsoring Space Agency
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

    Sponsoring Organization
    National Laboratory Education (NLE)

    Research Benefits
    Information Pending

    ISS Expedition Duration
    September 2012 - September 2013

    Expeditions Assigned
    33/34,35/36

    Previous ISS Missions
    Information Pending

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    Experiment Description

    Research Overview

    • NanoRacks-Minnehaha Academy-Coalescence of Water-Based Latex Polymers (NanoRacks-MA-Latex Polymer Coalescence) is needed to further study the formation of polymers (including sealing and adhesive materials) in space.
    • Polymer coalescence in space is analyzed molecularly and compared to the polymer coalescence on Earth’s surface.  If polymers coalesce effectively in space, the possibility of forming bonding agents for long-term space explorations will be probable.

    Description

    NanoRacks-Minnehaha Academy-Coalescence of Water-Based Latex Polymers (NanoRacks-MA-Latex Polymer Coalescence) investigations how polymers coalesce at the molecular level in microgravity at different temperatures compared to coalescence under Earth’s gravitation. The process of coalescence involves the evaporation of water, resulting in closely packed layers of polymer particles that intertangle and form a strong film. Analysis of scanning electron microscope images of space-formed polymers and earth-formed polymers determine the capability of polymers to coalesce effectively in a microgravity environment.

    NanoRacks-MA-Latex Polymer Coalescence incorporates a student-designed circuit board that pulls a polymer-coated suture through a heated chamber. A motor pulls the suture from a vial filled with polymer through a chamber heated by six small resistors. A small fan blowing across the resistor bank circulates the heat. The calibrated thermometer ensures that the polymer coalesces at the proper glass transition temperature. Our computer program heats the small chamber to four different temperatures while four different segments of the polymer-coated suture dry. A light and camera allow pictures to be taken of the experiment’s progress.

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    Applications

    Space Applications

    If polymers can form effectively in microgravity, similarly to the way polymers form on Earth, we predict that polymers can be applied in microgravity environments to repair, seal and stabilize various materials used in space exploration.

    Earth Applications

    Polymers are used extensively in our everyday lives: examples include plastics, paints, clothing, and insulation. Polymer formation is an important field of research as more durable and resilient polymer products are developed.

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    Operations

    Operational Requirements

    NanoRacks Module-22 is completely autonomous and only requires installation and removal. NanoRacks Module–22 returns on 33S.

    Operational Protocols

    Crew interaction with Module-22 is limited to transferring the NanoRacks locker Insert from the launch vehicle to the ISS, installation and activation of the NanoRacks Frames into the EXPRESS Rack Locker, cleaning of the air inlet filter (as necessary), and data retrieval (as needed) during the mission.

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    Results/More Information
    Information Pending

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    Related Websites
    NanoRacks

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    Imagery

    image

    The NanoRacks-Minnehaha Academy-Coalescence of Water-Based Latex Polymers (NanoRacks-MA-Latex Polymer Coalescence) microlab tests the coalescence of polymers at various temperatures.  An interactive image of the experiment can be viewed here: http://www.thinglink.com/scene/345997189610209281#tlsite.  Image courtesy of Minnehaha Academy.


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    The Minnehaha Academy ISS Student and Mentor Team developed the NanoRacks-Minnehaha Christian Academy-Coalescence of Water-Based Latex Polymers (NanoRacks-MA-Latex Polymer Coalescence) investigation. Image courtesy of Minnehaha Christian Academy.


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    Minnehaha Academy ISS Team Member Haley Anderson meets with Dr. Margaret Marshburn Beahrs, sister of NASA astronaut Dr. Thomas Marshburn, and demonstrates the hardware for NanoRacks-Minnehaha Academy-Coalescence of Water-Based Latex Polymers (NanoRacks-MA-Latex Polymer Coalescence). Image courtesy of Minnehaha Academy. 


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    Minnehaha Academy ISS Team members researching polymer formation in the chemistry labs of Valspar (a Minnesota-based coatings company) for the NanoRacks-Minnehaha Academy-Coalescence of Water-Based Latex Polymers (NanoRacks-MA-Latex Polymer Coalescence) investigation.  Image courtesy of Minnehaha Academy.


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