NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-The Effect of a Varied Magnetic Field on Magnetorheological Fluid Behavior in Microgravity (NanoRacks-VCHS-Magnetorheological Fluids) - 12.06.17

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

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Science Objectives for Everyone
NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-The Effect of a Varied Magnetic Field on Magnetorheological Fluid Behavior in Microgravity (NanoRacks-VCHS-Magnetorheological Fluids) investigates the performance of unique magnetically sensitive lubricants in the microgravity environment of space. Magnetorheological fluids can adjust their thickness in the presence of a magnetic field making them a ‘smart’ type of oil, but the suspended particles that give the fluid these properties are influenced by gravity. Using an automated setup aboard the International Space Station, NanoRacks-VCHS-Magnetorheological Fluids images and analyzes magnetorheological fluid behavior in the presence of a magnetic field but without gravity.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by George Sousa, M.S. ME, 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)
George Sousa, M.S. ME, 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
Information Pending

ISS Expedition Duration
April 2017 - September 2017

Expeditions Assigned
51/52

Previous Missions
A similar FerroFluid Experiment was flown before (Schematic and PCB design based on 2012 experiment) from Valley Christian High School.

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • The NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-The Effect of a Varied Magnetic Field on Magnetorheological Fluid Behavior in Microgravity (NanoRacks-VCHS-Magnetorheological Fluids) research is needed as initial testing for a series of Microgravity magnetorheological (MR) fluid tests and experiments. This investigation determines the MR Fluid’s base behavior in microgravity to understand the effect of the environment.
  • The behavior of MR fluid, a material that is used in damping and is known to have a high settling rate, is observed in microgravity and the optimum magnetic field signature that optimizes the control over the MR Fluid is determined.
  • The research is significant in the areas of satellite development and space robotics, where MR fluids are significant damping materials. Additionally, this experiment’s results influence future MR fluid experiments.

Description

NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-The Effect of a Varied Magnetic Field on Magnetorheological Fluid Behavior in Microgravity (NanoRacks-VCHS-Magnetorheological Fluids) uses three electromagnets and four supercapacitors to generate a variety of different magnetic fields of varying strength in order to analyze their effect on the shape and behavior of magnetorheological (MR) fluids in a microgravity environment. MR fluid suspended in clear silicone oil in a glass rectangular chamber is used, with three electromagnets positioned on the back and sides of the chamber, keeping the front of the chamber clear for clarity of the image. The back of the glass chamber is colored a color that complements the ultraviolet (UV) light-emitting diodes (LEDs) used and the grey color of the MR fluid to improve image quality. The back also has a coordinate plane to aid in quantitative observations of the fluid and the impacts of the magnetic fields. The control group is the ground test which is testing the same magnetic field strengths and patterns. With the image data collected from the International Space Station (ISS) and from the ground unit, qualitative analysis is used to determine the difference in behavior in microgravity versus on the ground.
 
The main components of this project are the MR fluid, which was purchased as well as the silicone oil for suspension, the electromagnets, which were made in-house, and the supercapacitors, which were purchased from Digi-Key. The MR fluid was purchased from Mid Atlantic Rubber Co./LORD MR Fluid--a company based out of Baltimore, Maryland, and mainly geared towards manufacturing and selling MR fluids/MR fluid-related devices. The silicone oil was purchased from Sigma Aldrich, a large company that has an inventory of various up-to-standard products for sale, but also specializes in research and development. The glass chamber was purchased from Packaging Options Direct.

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Applications

Space Applications
NanoRacks-VCHS-Magnetorheological Fluids advances understanding of how next generation materials perform in space. Long-term space travel requires a diverse range of tasks and new materials. Experiments like NanoRacks-VCHS-Magnetorheological Fluids prepare these materials for space applications and demonstrate how material science technologies can be integrated into space exploration.

Earth Applications
NanoRacks-VCHS-Magnetorheological Fluids expands understanding of how new materials perform under unusual conditions. This understanding can reveal new applications for ‘smart’ fluids and fundamental aspects of their material properties. This research also contributes to STEM education goals by including high-school students. These students receive training in scientific methods, teamwork and product testing.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols
NanoRacks Black Box is completely autonomous; data collection within the experiment is as well. During the experiment, photographic data is sent to the research team. The module must be returned for examination.

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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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Schematic used for the NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-The Effect of a Varied Magnetic Field on Magnetorheological Fluid Behavior in Microgravity (NanoRacks-VCHS-Magnetorheological Fluids) investigation. Image courtesy of Valley Christian High School.

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Event Table with example of a typical experimental run for NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-The Effect of a Varied Magnetic Field on Magnetorheological Fluid Behavior in Microgravity (NanoRacks-VCHS-Magnetorheological Fluids). Image courtesy of Valley Christian High School.

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