NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Mixing Fluids With Liquid Detergents (NanoRacks-VCHS-Liquid Detergents) - 09.27.17

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
On Earth, oil settles on top of water because of differences in the liquids’ density and oil’s natural water-repellent tendencies, although certain additives called emulsifying agents can help them combine. But liquids behave differently in microgravity, which may affect how oil combines with water and how detergents and emulsifiers function. NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Mixing Fluids With Liquid Detergents (NanoRacks-VCHS-Liquid Detergents) determines whether oils and water emulsify in microgravity in a similar manner as they do on Earth.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

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

OpNom:

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

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Marcel Marc, M.S., 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
Space Exploration, Scientific Discovery

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2016 - September 2016

Expeditions Assigned
47/48

Previous Missions
N/A

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Mixing Fluids With Liquid Detergents (NanoRacks-VCHS-Liquid Detergents) determines the changes in molecular interactions between lipids and liquids.
  • By discovering the effects of emulsification in microgravity, the creation of washing mechanisms in microgravity increase hygiene.
  • These discoveries facilitate long-distance space travel.

Description

On earth, when oil and water are placed in the same container, oil settles above the water due to both differences in density and oil's hydrophobic properties. However, since there is no gravity in space, the oil and water would not settle the same way. It is also unknown how these different fluids would mix. Additionally, the effect of emulsifying agents on oil and water in microgravity is subject to the way these two liquids settle. If emulsifying agents affect the mixing of oil and water differently from that on earth, future explorations in the universe would require different methods to clean personal items.
 
For the NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Mixing Fluids With Liquid Detergents (NanoRacks-VCHS-Liquid Detergents) investigation, oil is situated in two separate and adjacent chambers. First, some water is pumped into both chambers. Then, an emulsifying agent is pumped into one of the two chambers. The emulsifying agent in this experiment is detergent. After observing the differences between the two through pictures, a bit more of the water is pumped in, followed by the emulsifying agent, and this pattern is repeated until the end of the experiment. With the pictures, it is easy to determine the optimal water to oil ratio for mixing. By dyeing both the water and the oil with different colors, the mixing effect is fairly apparent in pictures. After receiving the pictures from a camera, the red-green-blue representation of the pixels is used to determine the degree of mixing. Thus, the interactions among water, oil, and emulsifying agents is discovered.

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Applications

Space Applications
This investigation studies how much detergent is needed to blend oil and water, which are dyed to better observe the liquids’ mixing and ratios. Results provide new information on how different liquids settle and how detergents affect this process. Differences in fluid and detergent behavior may demonstrate a need for alternative hygiene and cleaning methods for future space missions.

Earth Applications
Students at Valley Christian High School in San Jose, California, designed and built the experiment as part of the school’s goal to promote science, math and engineering. Industry mentors and teachers guided the students in designing, prototyping and finalizing the experiment to be flown on the International Space Station, fostering a unique connection to the space program.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols

NanoRacks Module-16 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 have the most data transmitted (about 19 VGA quality photographs along with environmental data (humidity and temperature). Thereafter, transmission is limited to 1VGA photo and environmental data per day for the duration of the flight.
 
Crew interaction with Module-16 is limited to transferring the NanoRacks locker insert from the launch vehicle to the International Space Station, 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

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The NanoRacks-VCHS-Liquid Detergents investigation module. Image courtesy of Valley Christian High School.

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Schematic of the NanoRacks-VCHS-Liquid Detergents investigation. Image courtesy of Valley Christian High School.

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A Valley Christian High School student solders the components for the NanoRacks-VCHS-Liquid Detergents investigation. Image courtesy of Valley Christian High School.

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