NanoRacks-Valley Christian Junior High School-Heat Conductivity (NanoRacks-VCJHS-Heat Conductivity) - 09.27.17

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Temperature control is a challenge in space, where sunlight and darkness cause extreme swings between heat and cold, and heat does not rise through convection as it does on Earth. NanoRacks-Valley Christian Junior High School-Heat Conductivity (NanoRacks-VCJHS-Heat Conductivity) studies methods to dissipate heat on the International Space Station. Results from this investigation benefit efforts to control cabin temperatures, improving crew comfort and health as well as safeguarding experimental payloads.
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:

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
Danny Kim, Valley Christian Junior High School, San Jose, CA, United States
Dwain Fairweather, B.S.M., MDIV, Valley Christian Junior 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, Space Exploration, Scientific Discovery

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2016 - September 2016

Expeditions Assigned
47/48

Previous Missions
NanoRacks-VCJHS-High Temperature Dispersion in Microgravity launched to the ISS on OA-4.

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • Heat transfer reacts differently in a microgravity environment than on the Earth. For example, heat energy does not necessarily rise in microgravity. To date research reported by NASA indicates conduction of heat energy appears unaffected in microgravity being similar to the gravity of the Earth. Even so, due to the low gravity aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the density of gas is affected and results in a lower heat transfer. Additionally, data as of yet indicates that thermal radiation is unaffected by microgravity. Combustion and flame seems to be unpredictable in microgravity with a coincident loss of heat transfer.
  • One of the ongoing concerns for the ISS is keeping electronic equipment from overheating and maintaining a livable environment for the residents of the ISS. Various solutions have been given NanoRacks-Valley Christian Junior High School-Heat Conductivity (NanoRacks-VCJHS-Heat Conductivity) studies thermodynamics in microgravity to add to the body of knowledge and scientific study to address these issues and proactively serve in the eventual long-term space travel to Mars or beyond. Such research may be used in Earth applications in electronic devices for novel applications as technology develops on a continuously smaller scale. On these tiny scales, heat transfer may have similar properties and affects as in a microgravity environment.
  • In terms of thermodynamics, a microgravity environment lacks convection, and offers a unique environment limiting heat transfer to only conduction and radiation. With only two forms of heat transfer, this experiment measures the heat migration through air in a microgravity environment.
  • The study of thermodynamics in a microgravity environment is useful in a number of applications on the ISS and the space vehicles and the electronic equipment used in these vehicles. Although this is the second experiment being conducted, the school anticipates annual studies to be performed. The hope is to have at least ten experiments, which add complexity determined by the results of the earlier experiments. The first experiment analyzed heat transfer using thermal paper, which is a two dimensional object. The second experiment is analyzing heat transfer using sensors in a three dimensional space. Through this research, the hope is to add to the existing knowledge of thermodynamics in microgravity so that electronic equipment and the living atmosphere of the crew members on board the ISS may be designed with a more efficient means of providing cooling and heating as needed. The results of design of the equipment used in space may also benefit electronic equipment used on Earth providing more efficient and less energy draining equipment.

Description

Heat is a form of energy associated with the motion of atoms or molecules and capable of being transmitted through solid and fluid media by conduction, through fluid media by convection, and through empty space by radiation. One of the ongoing concerns for the International Space Station (ISS) is keeping electronic equipment from overheating and maintaining a livable environment for the residents of the ISS. Various solutions have been given. NanoRacks-Valley Christian Junior High School-Heat Conductivity (NanoRacks-VCJHS-Heat Conductivity) studies thermodynamics in microgravity to add to the body of knowledge and scientific study to address these issues and proactively serve in the eventual long-term space travel to Mars or beyond. Such research may be used in Earth applications in electronic devices for novel applications as technology develops on a continuously smaller scale. On these tiny scales, heat transfer may have similar properties and affects as in a microgravity environment.
 
The hardware of the NanoRacks-VCJHS-Heat Conductivity experiment is comprised of four rings, four sensors on each ring, a resistor for radiating heat energy, two analog-to-digital converters (ADCs), a camera, and several other essential components. To begin with, the resistor is a 100 Ω carbon resistor that connects to a TPS2044 power switch. This power switch is in turn controlled by a PBASIC Stamp connected to a shift register located in the NanoLab Master Control Board referred to as the McMek. When this resistor is turned on, four octagonal rings containing four TO-92 LM35 sensors each measure the resulting fluctuations in temperature. The LM35 sensors, which are attached to four of the eight sides on each ring, have specifications of -55ºC to 150ºC; this by far eclipses the estimated range of observed temperatures and enables the measurement of any extreme incidents that may occur. The rings themselves are designed in Autodesk 360 and printed using a 3D printer; they measure approximately 4.75 cm by 4.75 cm and snugly fit into the module. Heating and cooling is measured in three dimensions using four sensor arrays each containing four thermal sensors.
 
Once they have completed an analog reading of the current temperature, the sensors send their results to two ADCs. These ADCs then generate a serial bus signal (in binary format) that is subsequently read by the Stamp within the McMek. Afterwards, the experiment process is completed when a photo is taken using the C329 camera module and two WP53BR12.7QWC/D LEDs. The resulting image by itself is useless other than as a monitor of current conditions; the goal is to use it to transfer the sensor data from the Stamp to the resident SD card, which acts as a permanent storage.
 
The experiment is heating and cooling a resistor while taking measurements to figure out how heat disperses in space. The basic software is to take a photo to make sure any damage has not been done and then to take a few sensor readings to calibrate it. After that a resister is heated and readings are taken at intervals. After 15 minutes the resistor is cooled. First, the resistor is heated and readings are taken after 1, 11, and 21 minutes, but after 15 minutes the resister is switched off. After this wait 1.5 hours. Then the exact same thing is repeated but with 2, 12, and 22 minutes await 1.5 hours and then 3, 13, 23 minutes and wait 1.5 hours all the way until 10, 20, 30 minutes and wait 1.5 hours. Then replay the code as many times as possible.

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Applications

Space Applications
Heat transfer is different in microgravity, where heat cannot be said to “rise” through convection as it does on Earth. This investigation heats up a resistor to study changes in air temperature, providing new information about heat transfer in space. Understanding differences in thermodynamics between microgravity and Earth gravity benefits efforts to control temperatures on the ISS.

Earth Applications
Students from Valley Christian Junior High School designed and built this investigation, gaining real-world training and expertise in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts and developing 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 16 VGA quality photographs along with environmental data (humidity and temperature). Thereafter, transmission is limited to one 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.
 
Crew interaction with Module-16 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

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This image shows the main design of NanoRacks-Valley Christian Junior High School-Heat Conductivity (NanoRacks-VCJHS-Heat Conductivity) and all the important measurements. Image courtesy of Valley Christian Junior High School.

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This image shows a flow chart of the event table with all the timings of the events included for NanoRacks-Valley Christian Junior High School-Heat Conductivity (NanoRacks-VCJHS-Heat Conductivity). Image courtesy of Valley Christian Junior High School.

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The entire Valley Christian Junior High School ISS Team that worked on the NanoRacks-Valley Christian Junior High School-Heat Conductivity (NanoRacks-VCJHS-Heat Conductivity) investigation. Image courtesy of Valley Christian Junior High School.

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