second year of the International Space Station's permanent habitation,
physical sciences -- exploring the way chemicals, materials and
fluids behave when exposed to the unique low-gravity environment
on aboard the station -- moved forward with the launch of Microgravity
Science Glovebox provided by the European Space Agency.
know that the physical properties of fluids and materials -- and
their reactions when melted and solidified -- change when subjected
to different gravity levels. In the low-gravity environment inside
the space station, processes often are slower, making them easier
to study. Phenomena masked by Earth's gravity become more visible,
and scientists can gather valuable data for designing materials
and systems that work at different gravity levels and improve
processes and products on Earth.
and fluids experiments done aboard the space station will help
NASA explore the universe by creating new materials and fluid
systems that work at different gravity levels. They also will
improve materials and processes used every day on Earth.
ISS Science Officer Peggy Whitson installs hardware
for the Solidification Using a Baffle in Sealed Ampoules
experiment in the Microgravity Science Glovebox.|
Using a Baffle in Sealed Ampoules
Using a Baffle in Sealed Ampoules, or SUBSA, experiment in the
Microgravity Science Glovebox involved eight samples of semiconductor
material. The goals of the SUBSA experiment were to determine
what causes motion in the melted fluids used to create semiconductors
in space and to reduce the magnitude of that motion. Understanding
this process could lead to a reduction in defects in semiconductors
produced in space and on Earth.
Formation and Mobility Investigation
Formation and Mobility Investigation, or PFMI, processed eight
materials samples in the glovebox to examine the way bubbles form
and behave as metals and alloys are processed. Bubbles that become
trapped during processing are defects that can weaken metals and
alloys used to make jet engine turbine blades and other applications
where high strength is critical.
of Colloids in Space
of Colloids in Space (EXPPCS) investigation was returned to Earth
after nearly a year's study of colloids -- a system of fine particles
suspended in a fluid. Paint, milk and ink are some common examples
of colloids. Although these products are routinely produced and
used, scientists still have much to learn about the underlying
properties of colloidal systems. Understanding their properties
may allow scientists to manipulate the physical structures of
colloids -- a process called "colloidal engineering" -- for the
manufacture of new materials and products.
the only place were some colloid structures can be studied. On
Earth, gravity causes the particles to sink to the bottom of a
container before they fully form some structures. In microgravity,
the particles stay suspended as they organize over long periods
into unique crystal and gel structures. A series of experiments
was completed on the space station using eight unique samples.
Scientists at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio,
are analyzing data received from the experiments during the mission
as well as samples returned to Earth after the mission.