NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Silver Crystal Growth (NanoRacks-VCHS-Silver Crystal Growth) - 05.31.17

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Crystals grown under the influence of gravity have a predictable pattern, but microgravity can change this, resulting in crystals of different shape and structure. The NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Silver Crystal Growth (NanoRacks-VCHS-Silver Crystal Growth) investigation applies an electric current to a silver nitrate solution, which results in crystals of pure silver. The experiment explores what happens to silver crystals when a gravitational field does not restrict their growth.
 
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

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

OpNom: NanoRacks Module-21 S/N 1003

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

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
George Sousa, Valley Christian High School, San Jose, CA, United States

Developer(s)
Valley Christian 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
Earth Benefits, Scientific Discovery

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2015 - March 2016

Expeditions Assigned
43/44,45/46

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • The purpose of NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Silver Crystal Growth (NanoRacks-VCHS-Silver Crystal Growth) is to form silver crystals in a microgravity environment and observe their structure to determine the effect of microgravity on the growth patterns.
  • When an electric current is applied to two electrodes in a silver nitrate solution, the silver nitrate solution breaks down and rebuilds as pure silver crystals on the anode.

Description
In a gravitational field, crystal growth patterns can be predicted and are somewhat consistent. NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Silver Crystal Growth (NanoRacks-VCHS-Silver Crystal Growth) explores what happens when a gravitational force is not restraining the growth and structure of the crystals by studying silver crystal growth. Four polycarbonate silver crystal growth chambers are connected to a circuit-board structure. There are two cameras along with light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Each of the four growth chambers contains two electrodes submerged in a silver nitrate solution (differing concentrations in each container). The compartments are programmed to apply a constant current (less than 10 mA at 5 V) to the electrodes and to take pictures every hour, in order to observe the growth of the crystals in the two chambers. The internal LEDs provide lighting when the photos are taken.

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Applications

Space Applications
Crystals can grow larger and with fewer imperfections in space, where Earth’s gravitational field does not interfere with their formation. Many life science and materials science investigations take advantage of this difference to grow superior-quality crystals in space. This investigation studies how silver crystals form in microgravity as compared with those on Earth, adding to basic research on crystallization in space.

Earth Applications

Students from Valley Christian High School in San Jose, CA, designed the experiment, gaining experience in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to prepare them for future careers. Developing experiments for microgravity forges a unique connection to the space program.
 

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols

Data collection within the experiment is automated; downlink is done via scheduled STELLA/NanoRacks command window intervals for the NanoRacks Platform. Payload is ambient and soft-stowed, but late loaded (approximately L-72 hr) and an early return.

Crew interaction is limited to transferring the NanoRacks Module from the launch vehicle to the ISS, installing the Module into a NanoRacks Platform, activating the NanoRacks Platform, data retrieval (as needed) during the mission, and destowing and returning the Module.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites
NanoRacks
ASGSR

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Imagery

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The NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Silver Crystal Growth (NanoRacks-VCHS-Silver Crystal Growth) investigation team from San Jose, CA. Image courtesy of Valley Christian High School.

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Programming the NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Silver Crystal Growth (NanoRacks-VCHS-Silver Crystal Growth) experiment stamp microprocessor. Image courtesy of Valley Christian High School.

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Designing the NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Silver Crystal Growth (NanoRacks-VCHS-Silver Crystal Growth) experiment flight printed circuit board. Image courtesy of Valley Christian High School.

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