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NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Electroplating (NanoRacks-VCHS-Electroplating)


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

Experiment Overview

This content was provided by Valley Christian High School, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Brief Summary

NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Electroplating (NanoRacks-VCHS-Electroplating) is a NanoLab project studying the effects of microgravity on electroplating.

Principal Investigator(s)

  • Valley Christian High School , San Jose, CA, United States
  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)

  • Dan Saldana, ISS Project Leader, Valley Christian High School, San Jose, CA, United States
  • Developer(s)

    NanoRacks, LLC, Houston, TX, United States

    Sponsoring Space Agency

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

    Sponsoring Organization

    National Laboratory Education (NLE)

    ISS Expedition Duration

    September 2011 - May 2012

    Expeditions Assigned


    Previous ISS Missions

    Information Pending

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    Experiment Description

    Research Overview

    • NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Electroplating (NanoRacks-VCHS-Electroplating) examines the effects of electro-plating of gold and bronze in microgravity aboard the ISS and compares the results of identical electro-plating on earth.

    • Samples of electro-plating in space and on the ground are analyzed with Valley Christianís Atomic Force Microscope.

    • NanoRacks-VCHS-Electroplating research is used to increase the general publicís knowledge and to bring the space research to a high school level. The research also helps future schools replicate the experiment and perform their own unique projects.


    NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Electroplating (NanoRacks-VCHS-Electroplating) examines bronze and gold electroplating under microgravity conditions and compares the plating roughness against ground controlled electroplated samples using an Atomic Force Microscope. Electroplating of bronze and gold films is conducted using non-toxic electroplating solutions. The materials for this experiment are bronze and plating solutions and a stainless steel anode. Nine polystyrene test tubes with 25 mL of each plating solution are in each of the two sub-modules. The electronic circuitry provides a selectable constant current source for each one of the nine plating solutions. The electroplating process is photographed with time lapse digital imagery. The electroplating solution temperature and surrounding humidity is recorded.

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    Space Applications

    If it is determined that electroplating in space produces more consistent plating than plating on the ground, this could result in the start of a new commercial space plating industry.

    Earth Applications

    A better and more consistent method of electroplating could result in the start of a new commercial space plating industry that would result in more jobs and plating applications.

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    Operational Requirements

    NanoRacks Module-16 is completely autonomous and only requires installation and removal. NanoRacks ModuleĖ16 returns to earth via a Russian Soyuz return capsule.

    Operational Protocols

    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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    Results/More Information

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    Related Websites

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    image NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Electroplating Experiment Ground Test Unit. Image courtesy of Valley Christian High School.
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    Information provided by the investigation team to the ISS Program Scientist's Office.
    If updates are needed to the summary please contact JSC-ISS-Program-Science-Group. For other general questions regarding space station research and technology, please feel free to call our help line at 281-244-6187 or e-mail at JSC-ISS-Payloads-Helpline.