NanoRacks-McMinnville High Engineering Aerospace & Sciences Academy-Corrosion of Metals in Microgravity (NanoRacks-MH EASA-Corrosion of Metals in Microgravity) - 11.22.16

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Metals corrode, or degrade, when they are exposed to harsh environments. NanoRacks-McMinnville High Engineering Aerospace & Sciences Academy-Corrosion of Metals in Microgravity (NanoRacks-MH EASA-Corrosion of Metals in Microgravity) studies corrosion of iron and zinc, which could be mined from asteroids and used in future space construction. Student-designed experiments expose metal coils to a saltwater solution to study how microgravity affects corrosion.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by MaryBeth Kramer, M.S., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom: NanoRacks Module-20 S/N 1003

Principal Investigator(s)
McMinnville High School Engineering Aerospace & Sciences Academy , McMinnville High School EASA, McMinnville, OR, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
MaryBeth Kramer, M.S., McMinnville High Engineering Aerospace & Sciences Academy, Sheridan, OR, United States

Developer(s)
McMinnville High School EASA, McMinnville, OR, 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
Space Exploration

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 objective of NanoRacks-McMinnville High Engineering Aerospace & Sciences Academy-Corrosion of Metals in Microgravity (NanoRacks-MH EASA-Corrosion of Metals in Microgravity) is to analyze how metals corrode in microgravity through visualization and resistance measurements to test the corrosion of different metals that could potentially be mined and used in future space construction and travel.
  • The experiment uses two sub-containers within a sub-module.  Each of the two containers holds a metal sample in deionized water to prevent corrosion until initiated.  The samples are metal coil of iron and zinc.  
  • There are two secondary chambers, that each hold a saline solution.  Micro-pumps mix the saline solution into the primary chambers.  There is a return pipe between both primary and secondary chambers such that fluid flows back to the secondary chamber allowing a continuous flow to mix.

Description
NanoRacks-McMinnville High Engineering Aerospace & Sciences Academy-Corrosion of Metals in Microgravity (NanoRacks-MH EASA-Corrosion of Metals in Microgravity) is a 3D printed Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ASB) plastic container that is 12 cm by 4.5 cm by 5 cm. The goal of the container is to keep the metals in an enclosed environment, maintain a steady salt-to-water ratio solution, and sustain a safe method of continuously gathering data through pictures and resistance measurements. Within the container there are 2 sub-containers, each of which holds a metal sample.  The sample is a metal coil to allow a longer sample making it easier to measure resistance and providing more surface area for corrosion.  The sample is held inside the chamber so it is steady, centered, and visible to the camera.  The primary sample chambers are full of deionized water, to prevent corrosion from occurring. There are two secondary chambers, that each hold a saline solution.  After waiting 4 hours from power-up on-orbit, micro-pumps mix the saline solution into the primary chambers.  There is a return pipe between both primary and secondary chambers such that fluid flows back to the secondary chamber allowing a continuous flow to mix.  Both chambers are full of fluid with no air to prevent issues with pressure changes and air bubbles.  Once mixed, the software runs in a continuous cycle in which it takes pictures every 6 hours and measures the samples’ resistance every hour.  Every 6 hours, the LED light turns on to provide light, the camera takes a picture, sends the picture to the flash memory, and the LED light then turns off.

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Applications

Space Applications
Asteroids contain abundant amounts of metals like iron, making them a potential source of metals for use in space. But the harsh temperatures and radiation of space, as well as microgravity, could alter the way processed metals corrode, posing a hazard to future space ships and habitats. This investigation exposes iron and zinc to saltwater in microgravity, using photographs and resistance measurements to study how microgravity affects corrosion.

Earth Applications
Saltwater, volcanic gases and other natural processes cause metals to corrode, causing problems for structures that rely on the strength of metals and metal alloys. This investigation contributes basic research on metal corrosion, which benefits materials science on Earth. In addition, the investigation was conceived and designed by students at McMinnville High Engineering Aerospace & Sciences Academy in Oregon, providing them with real-world experience in science and connecting them 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 hours) 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

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Imagery

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McMinneville High EASA Team for the NanoRacks-McMinnville High Engineering Aerospace & Sciences Academy-Corrosion of Metals in Microgravity (NanoRacks-MH EASA-Corrosion of Metals in Microgravity) experiment. Image courtesy of McMinnville High Engineering Aerospace & Sciences Academy.

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Students at work on the engineering unit for the NanoRacks-McMinnville High Engineering Aerospace & Sciences Academy-Corrosion of Metals in Microgravity (NanoRacks-MH EASA-Corrosion of Metals in Microgravity) investigation. Image courtesy of McMinnville High Engineering Aerospace & Sciences Academy.

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