NanoRacks-The Quest Institute-The Behavior of Heating, Cooling, and Humidity in Microgravity (NanoRacks-Quest-HeatHumidityBehavior) - 12.06.17

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

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Science Objectives for Everyone
The NanoRacks-The Quest Institute-The Behavior of Heating, Cooling, and Humidity in Microgravity (NanoRacks-Quest-HeatHumidityBehavior) investigation looks at differences between various heating and cooling methods in microgravity. Methods tested include heating with resistors and bulbs, cooling with natural and forced convection and conduction, and controlling relative humidity with passive desiccant exposure. A microprocessor board controls heating and cooling components, and the temperature sensors used to collect data. Data and video files of the experiment are collected for later review.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

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

OpNom:

Principal Investigator(s)
The Quest Institute , The Quest Institute, San Jose, CA, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Danny Kim, The Quest Institute, San Jose, CA, United States

Developer(s)
The Quest Institute, 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
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • The NanoRacks-The Quest Institute-The Behavior of Heating, Cooling, and Humidity in Microgravity (NanoRacks-Quest-HeatHumidityBehavior) research seeks to enhance the understanding of how heating and cooling differs in microgravity, in order to provide a base foundation of knowledge for future research efforts in efficient cooling methods in space.
  • The differences in efficiency of heating and cooling of natural convection, forced convection, radiation, and conduction can provide a positive influence in the future design approaches to efficient heating, cooling, and climate control.
  • This research is significant in helping to design more efficient methods of climate control for living quarters in space, such as on board the International Space Station (ISS). Further, this research can provide assistance in the development of more efficient heating and cooling systems for future long duration manned exploration missions beyond low-Earth orbit, such as human Mars exploration.

Description

The NanoRacks-The Quest Institute-The Behavior of Heating, Cooling, and Humidity in Microgravity (NanoRacks-Quest-HeatHumidityBehavior) experiment uses a ceramic resistor and light bulb to emit various forms of heat, along with conductive aluminum and fans to provide cooling. Sensors are placed approximately in the center of each interior wall of the smaller experiment cube. Heating elements are placed approximately in the interior center of the smaller experiment cube. One of the walls of the experiment cube is made of aluminum to allow for conductive cooling, and another wall provides cooling fans, as well as exposure to the desiccant (contained by mesh) to control humidity.
 
The experiment logic is programmed in the Lego Mindstorm EV3 controller board, and data measurements are collected via Lego-compatible heat and humidity sensors placed inside the experiment cube. These sensors are roughly equidistant from the heating sources and the general casing. There is an additional 9DOF sensor placed in the experiment cube to provide some orientation vectors towards earth, and this data is used to provide a better understanding of which relative direction the hot air moves (natural convection) in microgravity, if at all.
 
The Lego Mindstorm EV3 is a slightly modified version of a standard EV3 controller board, with removal of the battery case to reduce size, and modified to utilize a direct DC power source. The printed circuit board (PCB) is custom designed, but produced to standard specs. All electrical components were purchased at standard component vendors such as DigiKey.

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Applications

Space Applications
This investigation advances understanding of how certain heating and cooling methods work in microgravity. This type of experiment also helps young scientists understand the unique challenges of research in space and meeting the requirements of human space travel beyond Low Earth Orbit.

Earth Applications
The investigation expands the understanding of how heating, cooling, and humidity behave on Earth as well as in microgravity. The experiment design helps young scientists think about new solutions to old problems, including meeting the needs of an ever-increasing population on Earth. The research contributes to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education goals, providing junior-high school students additional learning resources and training in scientific methods, engineering, teamwork, and practical and applied development of a working and automated experiment.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols
The NanoRacks-Quest-HeatHumidityBehavior is integrated into NanoRacks Black Box. During experiment operations, time-series and video data is collected and sent to the research team on Earth. At the completion of the investigation, all hardware will be returned to Earth for analysis.

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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 case housing the NanoRacks-The Quest Institute-The Behavior of Heating, Cooling, and Humidity in Microgravity (NanoRacks-Quest-HeatHumidityBehavior) experiment contains a Lego Mindstorm EV3 controller board, cooling fans, a smaller experiment cube for observing heating and cooling phenomenon, a circular desiccant case to change the relative humidity of the smaller experiment cube, a USB camera, and custom PCB for control and heat and humidity measurements. Image courtesy of The Quest Institute.

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image The NanoRacks-The Quest Institute-The Behavior of Heating, Cooling, and Humidity in Microgravity (NanoRacks-Quest-HeatHumidityBehavior) experiment utilizes a Lego Mindstorm EV3 to control the experiment, which is mounted on a custom PCB which provides control and sensing and switching capabilities to reduce wiring and physical size. Image courtesy of The Quest Institute.
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The schematics of the printed circuit board (PCB) used in the NanoRacks-The Quest Institute-The Behavior of Heating, Cooling, and Humidity in Microgravity (NanoRacks-Quest-HeatHumidityBehavior) experiment provides regulated DC power, switching capability, and routing to and from appropriate heating or cooling components and sensors. Image courtesy of The Quest Institute.

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