Crystal growth mechanisms associated with the macromolecules adsorbed at a growing interface - Microgravity effect for self-oscillatory growth - 2 (Ice Crystal 2) - 09.17.14

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The Ice Crystal 2 investigation examines the growth rates, and stability, of ice crystals in supercooled water that contains antifreeze glycoprotein (AFGP).The growth of ice crystals in the supercooled water is controlled by the preferential accumulation of the AFGP molecules at the surface where ice and water interface in solution. The growth of ice crystals, and their adsorption of AFGP, is observed in the microgravity environment, free from the effects of gravity-based convection.

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Information Pending

The following content was provided by Yoshinori Furukawa, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Information provided courtesy of the Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Experiment Details

OpNom Ice Crystal 2

Principal Investigator(s)

  • Yoshinori Furukawa, Ph.D., Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan

  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
  • Etsuro Yokoyama, Gakushuin University, Tokyo, Japan
  • Naohisa Ogawa, Hokkaido Institute of Technology, Japan
  • Nada Hiroki, AIST, Japan
  • Gen Sazaki, Hokkaido University, Japan
  • Ken Nagashima, Hokkaido University, Japan
  • Akitoshi Asakawa, Hokkaido University, Japan
  • Shunichi Nakatsubo, Hokkaido University, Japan

  • Developer(s)
    Information Pending
    Sponsoring Space Agency
    Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

    Sponsoring Organization
    Information Pending

    Research Benefits
    Information Pending

    ISS Expedition Duration
    March 2013 - September 2014

    Expeditions Assigned

    Previous ISS Missions
    Ice crystal experiment was conducted in Increment18.

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    Experiment Description

    Research Overview

    • Ice crystal morphologies growing in a supercooled antifreeze protein (AFP) solution are drastically modified from those growing in a supercooled pure water, and the self-oscillation of growth is also observed. Based on the results of ground experiments, a model is proposed to explain these phenomena. It is called the 2-step reversible adsorption inhibition model, and must be confirmed by careful experiments. The crystal morphology may be strongly be affected by  convection, which cannot be prevented under  gravity. This effect can be prevented, and the effects of AFP obtained for ice growth under ideal microgravity experimental conditions in the Kibo Module of ISS.

    • We will obtain various movie images of ice crystal growth as a function of supercooling temperature are obtained, and data analyzed,  to clarify the morphological changes and the time-sequence growth rates.

    • This research project illustrates the principle of the growth model for ice in the AFP solution, and opens the way for new research fields related to the fundamentals of crystal growth mechanisms controlled by biological macromolecules.


    Information Pending

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    Space Applications

    Antifreeze glycoproteins have been discovered in fish living in polar regions. Ice crystals grow in a dramatically different fashion in the presence of this protein, compared to ice crystals that form in pure super-cold water. Scientists have not been able to successfully demonstrate how these proteins work, because ice crystal formation is likely also affected by convection (induced by gravity). Studying the interaction between ice crystals and antifreeze glycoprotein in microgravity could help researchers describe how the protein adheres to water molecules to stop the formation of ice.


    Earth Applications

    Biological antifreeze is found in several species of polar fish, where it prevents the formation of ice crystals even in freezing water. Understanding how antifreeze glycoprotein works could lead to new research in the fundamental physics of crystal growth, and how biological molecules can affect crystal formation.


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    Operational Requirements
    Information Pending

    Operational Protocols
    Information Pending

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    Results/More Information

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    Results Publications

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    Ground Based Results Publications

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    ISS Patents

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