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NASA Glenn Selects Winners of Drop Tower Challenge

Press Release From: Glenn Research Center
Posted: Wednesday, August 8, 2018

NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland has selected winners of the 2018 Microgravity Expulsion from Water Experiments Challenge. The winning teams have been invited to participate in the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research (ASGSR) conference in Washington D.C. in November.

Students who participated in the challenge designed and built objects that sunk in water in normal gravity, but were expelled from water during a free fall from Glenn's 2.2 second drop tower.

"The key part of this challenge is that the expulsion must result from the hydrophobic, or water fearing, properties of the surface of each object," said Nancy Hall, challenge director. "While it is known that liquids in general behave differently in microgravity due to surface tension having a greater effect, this experiment allows us to see the effects of liquid behavior on a hydrophobic surface."

This is important to the space program because a liquid's interaction with solid surfaces ultimately affects the rate of chemical reactions and heat transfer.

The selection of the best-performing designs was based on the expectations of the objects expelled, analysis and the students' written reports.

Teams from the following schools have been selected to present at the 2018 ASGSR meeting Nov. 3:

First place, Grafton High School, Yorktown, Virginia
Second place, Broadway Creek Homeschool Academy, Medina, Ohio
Second place, West Geauga High School, Chesterland, Ohio
Fourth place, Canyon Crest Academy, San Diego, California
"If you have an opportunity to participate in a challenge, definitely do it," said Hall. "It's a great way to learn about the engineering process and the work that NASA is doing in various areas."

Students interested in NASA's competition opportunities can visit: https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/stu-competitions-current-opps.html.

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