NanoRacks-Desert Christian High School-Effects of Microgravity on the Operation of Graphene Based Supercapacitors Under Elevated Temperatures (NanoRacks-DCHS-Graphene SuperCap Temp) - 11.22.16

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Supercapacitors can be charged faster than batteries, and single-atom-thick sheets of carbon called graphene can store more energy than similarly sized lithium-ion batteries. This, in turn, makes graphene supercapacitors a highly efficient way to store and use electricity. Future space missions may use graphene supercapacitors to power rovers or spacecraft instruments, so it is essential to understand how they work in the harsh environment of space. NanoRacks-Desert Christian High School-Effects of Microgravity on the Operation of Graphene Based Supercapacitors Under Elevated Temperatures (NanoRacks-DCHS-Graphene SuperCap Temp) studies how graphene-based supercapacitors hold their charge in microgravity and in warm temperatures.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

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

OpNom:

Principal Investigator(s)
Desert Christian High School , Desert Christian High School, Lancaster, CA, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Allen Parker, NASA Armstrong, Palmdale, CA, United States

Developer(s)
NanoRacks LLC, Webster, TX, United States
Desert Christian High School, Lancaster, CA, 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 2016 - September 2016

Expeditions Assigned
47/48

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • NanoRacks-Desert Christian High School-Effects of Microgravity on the Operation of Graphene Based Supercapacitors Under Elevated Temperatures (NanoRacks-DCHS-Graphene SuperCap Temp) helps validate whether graphene-based supercapacitors could be a viable energy storage device for space fairing vessels and rovers.
  • This research studies the charge/discharge performance under normal and elevated temperatures scenarios while operating in a microgravity environment.
  • The impact of this research leads to faster charge times and longer life-cycles than current energy storage devices.

Description

The NanoRacks-Desert Christian High School-Effects of Microgravity on the Operation of Graphene Based Supercapacitors Under Elevated Temperatures (NanoRacks-DCHS-Graphene SuperCap Temp) experiment consists of three main components; the MicroLab Controller Board, the Supercapacitor Controller Board, and the supercapacitor assemblies.
 
The MicroLab controller board provides the data interface to the NanoLab Master Controller Board with the function of passing our experiment data onto the NanoLab Master Control Board for data storage and telemetry.
 
The Supercapacitor Controller Board provides the control parameters for heating, charging and discharging the Supercapacitors. This board will also track the temperature of the devices as well as measure it voltages and currents.
 
The supercapacitor assemblies are made up of the supercapacitors along with the heating elements affixed on both sides of the devices. Four lead wires attached to the assembly and their associated connector will provide the interface between the supercapacitor and the supercapacitor controller board. Each heater is a small encapsulated package of dimension: 0.235” X 0.125” with a room temperature (75°F) resistance of 50 ohms (ETG-50B Option W). This device is typically used as a temperature measuring device but we will also use it to generate heat. As a heater it will dissipate a maximum of 0.5W.
 
Each coin size supercapacitor has on each surface (top and bottom) a 50ohm ETG devices from Vishay Micro Measurements. Power to the heaters is sourced from the MicroLabs 5V source. The experiment has the ability to service 8 supercapacitor devices with only one being evaluated (heated and monitored) at any given time. The excitation of each heater is alternated between both heaters with only one heater on at any given time. Temperature measurements will be conducted on the heater that is not being excited in order to track temperature of the supercapacitor.

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Applications

Space Applications
Graphene-based supercapacitors can charge more quickly and weigh less than typical batteries, making them a promising technology for future spacecraft, rovers and satellites. Solar-powered spacecraft could collect energy from the sun and store it in supercapacitors instead of batteries, reducing weight and lowering launch costs. This investigation tests two supercapacitor types for several thousand charge and discharge cycles while at room temperatures and at warm temperatures on the International Space Station. Results benefit efforts to use graphene-based supercapacitors in space.

Earth Applications
Any technology that uses batteries would be able to use a graphene-based supercapacitor, which relies on static electricity instead of a chemical reaction. Supercapacitors can recharge much more quickly than batteries, potentially enabling consumers to charge their cell phones within a few seconds or charge an electric vehicle in a few minutes, rather than several hours. Understanding how these devices perform in harsh environments provides fundamental insight into their behavior. In addition, students from Desert Christian High School designed the investigation, gaining real-world experience in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts and connecting them to the space program.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols

NanoRacks Module 20 is completely autonomous and only requires installation and removal. During the actual operation photographic, environmental, and experiment data are sent to the investigators to track the progress of the experiment. Photos are taken at a rate of two per hour. The payload chamber needs to be returned to the researchers, so the supercapacitors can be examined.
 
Crew interaction with Module 20 is limited to transferring the NanoRacks locker insert from the launch vehicle to the ISS, installation and activation of the NanoRacks Frames and 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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Experiment Block Diagram.  Diagram courtesy of Desert Christian High School.

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Supercapacitor Assembly Diagram.  Diagram courtesy of Desert Christian High School.

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Supercapacitor Assembly with and without heatshrink.  Image courtesy of Desert Christian High School.

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Circuit Photo showing eight capacitor interface ports.  Image courtesy of Desert Christian High School.

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Printed Circuit Board Layout.  Image courtesy of Desert Christian High School.

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