NanoRacks-NSL Satellites Ltd-Oil Bubbles (NanoRacks-NSL Satellites Ltd-Oil Bubbles) - 07.29.14

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery
ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
High School students know oil floats above water on Earth, due to their different specific densities. They wonder how, and if,  two liquids with different specific densitiesy will mix, in space. NanoRacks-NSL Satellites Ltd-Oil Bubbles is a student-designed experiment exploring this phenomenon.

Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

This content was provided by Daniel Rockberger, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Experiment Details

OpNom NanoRacks Module-9 S/N 1010

Principal Investigator(s)

  • Daniel Rockberger

  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
    Information Pending
    NanoRacks, LLC, Houston, TX, United States

    Sponsoring Space Agency
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

    Sponsoring Organization
    National Laboratory (NL)

    Research Benefits
    Information Pending

    ISS Expedition Duration
    September 2013 - March 2014

    Expeditions Assigned

    Previous ISS Missions
    Information Pending

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    Experiment Description

    Research Overview

    • NanoRacks-NSL Satellites-Oil Bubbles aims to investigate how oil and water mix differently in space than they do on Earth.
    • NanoRacks-NSL Satellites-Oil Bubbles allows students to further explore the behavior of materials and liquids.
    • NanoRacks-NSL Satellites-Oil Bubbles explores the mixing ability of different specific densities, in space.


    The goal of the high school students is to investigate how two materials (liquids) with different specific volumes mix.  Just as water and oil do not mix on Earth, and oil floats above twater, NanoRacks-NSL Satellites Ltd-Oil Bubbles tests this in space and freezes the situation.

    The challenge is in determining what liquids to use, and after a long set of mixing experiments, the liquids chosen are water and epoxy resin.  In this case, the water is acting like the oil and the epoxy like the water. The epoxy is in its two-part state, when all mixed together the epoxy parts connect and start to mix (or not) with the water, and after many hours the epoxy dries and freezes that point in time. What is observed when the MixStix is opened up on earth indicates what happened inside the MixStix under microgravity.  Did they mix? If so, how? If not, how are the liquids positioned in the MixStix?

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    Space Applications

    This research can improve the understanding of the mechanisms behind mixing materials in space. This can be needed for future habitats, resin mix for repairs, and food preparation, etc.

    Earth Applications

    If some mixing processes seem improved in microgravity then these conditions can be simulated on Earth for improved results.

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    Operational Requirements

    The MixStix are unclamped to activate.
    As there are two components of an Epoxy resin that must mix well, it is required to shake for at least 120 seconds, while slightly squeezing the tube and pulling open the clamp as much as possible.

    Operational Protocols

    A crewmember removes the Velcro tabs to open the Module-9 lid. The crewmember unclamps the fasteners on the MixStix as directed, enabling the materials in the various chambers to flow. The crewmember then shakes the MixStix (when directed) to mix the liquids thoroughly for at least 120 seconds. Repeat for all MixStix. Crewmember notes the time of MixStix activation and replaces the tubes back in Module-9. The lid is replaced and secured with the Velcro tabs.

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    Results/More Information
    Information Pending

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    Related Websites

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