NanoRacks-Gadsden State-Organic Solvents in H2O (NanoRacks-Gadsden State-Organic Solvents in H₂O) - 11.22.16

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone

Solvents are substances that dissolve other substances, and like many materials, they behave differently in microgravity. NanoRacks-Gadsden State-Organic Solvents in H2O studies the microgravity behavior of organic solvents in water. A NanoRacks module contains fluid vessels full of organic solvents, and instruments monitor the solvents’ interactions under the influence of various stimuli.

Science Results for Everyone
Initiation of this investigation has been affected by the loss of the Orbital-3 launch vehicle and mission in October 2014.

The following content was provided by Audrey Webb, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom: NanoRacks Module-47

Principal Investigator(s)
Audrey Webb, Gadsden State Community College, Anniston, AL, United States
Murray Darrach, Ph.D., Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States

Corey Edwards, Gadsden State Community College, Anniston, AL, United States
Richard Kidd, Ph.D., Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States

NanoRacks LLC, Webster, TX, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory (NL)

Research Benefits
Earth Benefits, Scientific Discovery

ISS Expedition Duration

Expeditions Assigned
Information Pending

Previous Missions
Information Pending

^ back to top

Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • NanoRacks-Gadsden State-Organic Solvents in H2O consists of several fluid vessels containing immiscible fluids.  The fluids are agitated and the behavior observed.
  • The data gained is utilized for future miniature sample handing and delivery systems especially for water quality monitoring.
  • Infinity Aerospace developed the NanoRacks-Gadsden State-Organic Solvents in H2O microcontroller.
  • This experiment uses a standard 3.0 U (10 cm by 10 cm by 34 cm) NanoRacks Module consisting of a LEXAN™ ArduLab covered in Aluminum tape (High Temperature 3M™ Aluminum Tape).


The study and understanding of the properties of commonly used materials onboard the International Space Station (ISS) when exposed to different immiscible fluids is important for the development of future hazard prevention instrumentation for the ISS and the future of long-duration manned space flight. There is a need to understand how different chemicals act, as a means of developing detection procedures, which separate any foreign chemicals that contaminate the water supply in order to safeguard future spacecraft and crew life support systems. Under normal earth gravity (1 g) trace hydrophobic organics inside water separate, forming either layers on top or bottom of the water, depending upon their density. Under microgravity the behavior of these hydrophobic organics (e.g. aldehydes, alkanes), especially their interaction with surfaces and under variable flow, is poorly understood. This has dramatic implications for the design of future miniature sample handling and delivery systems for water quality monitors. The NanoRacks-Gadsden State-Organic Solvents in H2O experiment is design, developed, built and tested to fly on the International Space Station using a 3U ArduLab module interfaced with the current NanoRacks equipment onboard. The experiment, developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena CA, tests the nature of immiscible liquids/chemicals in a microgravity environment along with how they interact with each other and how they behave when introduced to several different surfaces.

^ back to top


Space Applications
Water and other fluids behave differently in microgravity. The investigation tests the microgravity interactions of organic solvents, which are carbon-based materials found in paints, cleaning agents, glue and a variety of other materials, and evaluates their ability to be used in space. Results also improve the sensitivity and accuracy of water quality monitors that use smaller sample sizes, and improve techniques for handling small fluid samples.

Earth Applications
Millions of people are exposed to organic solvents at work and in the course of everyday life. Understanding their basic behaviors is important for reducing risks associated with exposure to these materials. Results also improve the sensitivity and accuracy of water quality monitors, which are used in a wide range of industrial and consumer applications to safeguard health. In addition, students from Gadsden State Community College in Alabama designed the investigation, providing experience in experimental design, engineering and technology.

^ back to top


Operational Requirements and Protocols
NanoRacks Module-47 operates autonomously once plugged into the NanoRacks Platform.  It is returned on SpX-5.
NanoRacks Module-47 is destowed. It is plugged into the NanoRacks Platform and operates autonomously.  NanoRacks Module-47 returns on SpX-5.

^ back to top

Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

^ back to top

Results/More Information

Information Pending

^ back to top

Related Websites

^ back to top


image Diagram of NanoRacks-Gadsden State-Organic Solvents in H2O module. Image courtesy of Audrey Webb.
+ View Larger Image