NanoRacks-Valley Christian Junior High School-Mixing Liquids of Different Densities in a Microgravity Environment (NanoRacks-VCJHS-Fluid Density ) - 09.27.17

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Liquids of different densities don't mix easily, which is why oil floats on water. NanoRacks-Valley Christian Junior High School-Mixing Liquids of Different Densities in a Microgravity Environment (NanoRacks-VCJHS-Fluid Density) determines how microgravity affects the molecular interactions between liquids of different densities. The investigation also determines whether water flows through a tube without being pumped, possibly eliminating pumps and valves to lower costs on future experiments.
 
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by James Nadir, B.S. EE, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom: NanoRacks Module-22 S/N 1002

Principal Investigator(s)
Valley Christian Junior High School , Valley Christian Junior High School, San Jose, CA, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
James Nadir, B.S. EE, Valley Christian Junior High School, San Jose, CA, United States

Developer(s)
Valley Christian Junior High School, San Jose, CA, United States
NanoRacks, LLC, Webster, TX, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory Education (NLE)

Research Benefits
Scientific Discovery

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2014 - September 2014

Expeditions Assigned
39/40

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • NanoRacks-Valley Christian Junior High School-Mixing Liquids of Different Densities in a Microgravity Environment (NanoRacks-VCJHS-Fluid Density) determines how the molecular interaction between two liquids of different densities changes in a microgravity environment.  This investigation is to determine if microgravity produces new and useful properties.    
  • NanoRacks-VCJHS-Fluid Density also examines if water will flow in a microgravity environment through a small (1/16” diameter) tube without the aid of pumps or be prevented from doing so by the water’s surface tension. This investigation determines if pumps or pressurized systems are needed in future experiments to deliver liquids to their target.
  • The benefit of this research may be the possible elimination of pumps/valves in future research thus saving power and space leaving room for more investigative apparatus.
  • Another benefit is the possible discovery of new opportunities to manage/deliver chemicals and medicine in space.

Description
NanoRacks-Valley Christian Junior High School-Mixing Liquids of Different Densities in a Microgravity Environment (NanoRacks-VCJHS-Fluid Density) examines how the molecular interaction between two liquids of different densities changes in a microgravity environment. NanoRacks-VCJHS-Fluid Density also determines if water flows in a microgravity environment through a small (1/16” diameter) tube without the aid of pumps or is prevented from doing so by the water’s surface tension. This investigation determines if pumps or pressurized systems are needed in future experiments to deliver liquids to their target.
 
Two miniature peristaltic pumps (RP-Q1 from Takasago Electric Japan) are used to deliver water to an observation chamber. The dimensions of each pump are approximately 1 cm by 1 cm by 3 cm. The observation chamber is a milled polycarbonate block of approximately 2.25” by 2.5”by 5/8”. This chamber holds pigmented molecules of different densities which are suspended in a honey media for quick dissolution.  Programming and electronic interface circuitry manages the pumps, timing duration, and photo frequency.

Temperature needs to be around 25°C with approximately 14.7 PSI. Continuous power is needed for a minimum of 3 days after the first 28 duration hours of intermittent power. Thereafter power can be momentarily interrupted without significant disruption to the experiment. The experiment is designed to function for the duration of the flight onboard the ISS but it can be shut down after 10 days if needed.

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Applications

Space Applications
The investigation studies fluid dynamics between fluids of different densities by tracking the interaction of colored fluids. It also examines fluids flowing through thin tubes without being pumped. In microgravity, water can readily flow through capillary action, which allows fluids to flow through narrow spaces without external forces. The investigation examines whether the water's surface tension prevents this type of flow, or whether water flows through a small (1/16th diameter) tube without a pump. If so, pumps and valves could be eliminated in future medical and chemical experiments in space, reducing weight and costs.
 

Earth Applications
Results from this investigation pave the path for novel processes in chemistry and medicine, using capillary action instead of pumps to move fluids around. Students in grades 7 and 8 designed the experiments, gaining experience in science, technology and engineering.
 

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols
NanoRacks Module-22 is completely autonomous and only requires installation and removal.  During actual operation, photographic data is sent to the investigators to track the progress of the experiment. The first three days will have the most data transmitted (about 16 VGA quality photographs along with environmental data (humidity and temperature). Thereafter, transmission is limited to 1 VGA photo and environmental data per day for the duration of the flight. The payload chamber needs to be returned to the researchers so its contents can be examined under an atomic force microscope.
Crew interaction with NanoRacks 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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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites

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Imagery

image The NanoRacks-Valley Christian Junior High School-Mixing Liquids of Different Densities in a Microgravity Environment (NanoRacks-VCJHS-Fluid Density) investigation team.  Image courtesy of Valley Christian Junior High School.
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