Code UG Weekly Notes 5-09-02

Status Report From: Microgravity Research Program Office
Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2002

Physical Sciences Division
Weekly Highlights for Week Ending 5/09/2002

*** Indicates item is appropriate for the HQ senior staff and may appear on the OBPR Web site:


NASA PI SELECTED HEAD OF BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING AT CLEVELAND CLINIC: Dr. Peter Cavanagh, PI for the upcoming ISS flight experiment on Foot Reaction Forces During Space Flight and formerly of Penn State University, has been selected as the new head of the biomedical engineering department of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Cavanagh has already initiated contacts with NASA Glenn to discuss his flight project, some possible outreach activities, and the Biomedical Engineering Consortium.

PROPULSIVE SMALL EXPENDABLE DEPLOYER SYSTEM (ProSEDS): The ProSEDS is in the critical path testing process. Recently completed vibration, shock, and thermal cycle testing of the flight batteries achieved a major milestone, while testing yet to be completed includes thermal cycle testing of all other previously vibrated components. Redesign work is continuing on the Data System Electronics Box and the Hollow Cathode Plasma Contactor. Both of these components will require vibration, shock, and thermal cycle testing. The launch is currently scheduled for 08/01/02 on-board a Delta II launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral, FL. Success is dependent on the satisfactory resolution of the two major redesign efforts.


DROPPING ON A DIME, AGAIN: Four teams comprised of fifteen high school students and four teacher/advisors dropped their experiments in the NASA Glenn 2.2 Second Drop Tower facility during the recent Dropping In a Microgravity Environment (DIME) Drop Days activities on April 23-25, 2002. The experiment topics were: magnetic fluids in microgravity; effects of microgravity on density based fluid flow; change in meniscus in a microgravity environment; and flame progression rate of burning paper. The DIME activities in the drop tower were broadcast over the internet for the teams' home schools, family members, and other schools and organizations to observe the drop operations.

The four teams were all successful in conducting their experiments despite some early difficulties. The teams presented their initial science results at a review on their last day at NASA. Each team will prepare a final report and submit it to NASA in early-June.

While at NASA Glenn, the teams also participated in microgravity workshops, a NASA center tour, and a SCUBA orientation in the teams' hotel pool.

DIME is a competitive science experiment program for high-school-aged student teams and just concluded its second pilot year. The DIME process for a high school student team involves developing a hypothesis, writing a proposal according to DIME guidelines, and submitting it to NASA. A team of NASA scientists and engineers select the best proposals for those teams to develop the experiment, build the apparatus, and deliver it to NASA Glenn. During DIME Drop Days four student members and an adult advisor visit NASA Glenn for microgravity workshops, a tour of major facilities, and operating their experiment in the drop tower.

During the 2002/2003 school year, eligibility for DIME high school-aged student teams will be expanded nationwide for the first time. A summary of DIME 2002 will soon be added to the DIME web page:

PROJECT MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE - NORTH EAST OHIO CHAPTER (PMI-NEO) LEARNS ABOUT THE ISS AND MICROGRAVITY SCIENCE BEING CONDUCTED AT GRC'S TELESCIENCE SUPPORT CENTER: On April 23, 2002, the North East Ohio Chapter of the Project Management Institute (about 30 professionals) was provided a briefing of the development and deployment of the Physics of Colloids in Space experiment (currently on ISS) and a tour of the Glenn Research Center's Telescience Support Center. This was the second such tour given to the PMI-NEO Chapter since February. MSD's Mike Doherty served as the host. The briefing encompassed microgravity experiment hardware development and deployment, including customer science requirements, hardware development and delivery schedule, hardware system verification and product assurance, and system deployment and operations. Subsequent to this, the PMI-NEO was given a tour of the ISS U.S. Laboratory Mockup and the Telescience Support Center in Building 333. The Chapter enjoyed the life-size ISS US Lab mockup, and learned how telescience is currently being conducted on ISS. The feedback on the entire event was very positive, with members of this professional society impressed with the scale of GRC technological undertakings.

INDUSTRIAL OUTREACH: On April 17-18, Rick Pettegrew and Paul Ferkul (National Center for Microgravity Research associated with nasa Glenn's Microgravity Combustion Science Branch) and George Santosuosso (NASA) performed infrared thermography in a biomedical/industrial outreach project with Gebauer Company, a Cleveland-based company that makes vapor-coolants for use as skin refrigerants (these products are used as topical anesthetics for pre-injection anesthesia, sports injuries, etc). This work was performed using an infrared system and techniques typically used as a combustion diagnostic tool for the SIBAL/FEANICS flight projects scheduled to fly on the ISS. The purpose of this work was to record temporally resolved field temperature measurements of human skin that was treated with various skin refrigerant products made by Gebauer. This data will be used to establish 'substantial equivalence' between previously FDA approved products and a new class of environmentally friendly products under development, an important step in gaining FDA approval for the new products. The work was performed on-site at the Gebauer facilities in Cleveland, using Gebauer employees as the test subjects. Data analysis and a written report will be completed by mid-May. After using the data for the FDA approval process, Gebauer representatives expect to publish the results (with NCMR & NASA) in a relevant trade journal by the end of the year.

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS (ICES) MANUSCRIPTS RECEIVED FOR REVIEW: Manuscripts were received at Glenn Research Center for review for the Plant Flight Hardware: Fluid Management Technologies and Applications session of the upcoming 32nd ICES to be held in San Antonio, TX, July 15-18, 2002. The subject session is jointly organized by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Life Science and Systems Technical Committee and the Microgravity and Space Processes Technical Committee (MSPTC). Mike Doherty is the MSPTC representative. The manuscripts will be reviewed and returned with comments to the authors prior to finalization of each paper.

NATIONAL COUNCIL OF TEACHERS OF MATHEMATICS (NCTM) ANNUAL CONFERENCE: The NCTM Annual Conference was held in Las Vegas, NV April 21-24, 2002. The conference was attended by approximately 19,000 mathematics educators from across the United States, Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, and Puerto Rico. The Office of Biological and Physical Research (OBPR) exhibit booth was staffed by Twila Schneider of Infinity Technology, Inc. (Marshall Space Flight Center), Don Strayer of University of California-Berkeley (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) and Sharon Miya of the NASA Aerospace Education Services Program. The OBPR staffers gave out copies of many of our publications as well as conducted drop tower demonstrations using the new Wireless Drop Tower.

MUSEUM GLOVEBOX PROJECT: The Microgravity Research Program Office Museum Glovebox Project is nearing completion. Chris McLemore of Infinity Technology, Inc. is finalizing the interactive script that will be used with the touch-screen panel in the Glovebox. Allen Moore of CST, Inc. is completing the structural work to make the Glovebox and Ground Control unit safe for museum use. Robin Estell of CST, Inc. has finished the design for the banners and artwork that will be incorporated around and above the two units. Carla Rosenberg of NCMRFC is working on the fabrication of hands-on activities to be placed in the Glovebox. The activities will be based on Physical Sciences experiments that have flown on past missions in a glovebox. Twila Schneider of Infinity Technology, Inc is coordinating the project.


BIOTECHNOLOGY CARRIERS - STES (BIC-STES): The S/N 008 and 009 Single-Locker Thermal Enclosure System (STES) units have successfully completed pre-ship functional testing, while the Protein Crystallization Apparatus for Microgravity cylinders have successfully passed leak testing. The hardware has been assembled into the flight configuration in preparation for shipment to KSC on 05/20/02 in support of the upcoming Utilization Flight 2 mission 05/30/02.

BIOTECHNOLOGY CARRIERS - TES (BIC-TES): The S/N 005 Thermal Enclosure System (TES) flight unit completed functional testing on 04/24/02, with one test discrepancy open due to the unit not controlling within specification at the 40 degrees C command temperature. The unit was sent to the fabrication shop for surface treat modification on the barrel rim and for weight and center of gravity measurements, which were completed on 05/01/02. The unit successfully passed proof pressure and leak testing on 05/06/02, and the next planned test for this unit is a thermal test, tentatively scheduled to begin on 05/13/02. If future testing is successful, integration with the Observable Protein Crystal Growth Apparatus should begin the week of 05/20/02.

MICROGRAVITY RESEARCH PROGRAM OFFICE (MRPO) PAYLOAD OPERATIONS STATUS ON THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (ISS) 8A STAGE: We have successfully completed Week#19 of Increment 4/8A Stage, and have entered into Week#20. With the exception of Space Acceleration System (SAMS), the acceleration measurement system, all of our payloads are performing nominally. Troubleshooting for SAMS is continuing at this moment. We now have experiments on board dealing with protein crystal growth, bioprocessing for medical research and zeolite crystal growth (ZCG) for uses as catalysts in the chemical and petroleum industries.

On April 23 the "Critical Velocities In Open Capillary Channel Flows" (CCF) experiment successfully completed a Science Concept Review (SCR) in Bremen, Germany. Brian Motil (GRC) represented NASA at this review. The CCF experiment is scheduled to fly on the ISS in 2008 and will be developed and funded by the German Space Agency (DLR). The experimental objectives are to test the theoretical predictions for the free surface shapes and the critical flow velocities for open capillary channel (vanes) flows in microgravity. The experiment will also be designed to validate the assumptions used to develop the governing equations. Open capillary channels are used in surface tension tanks to transport liquid (propellant) to reservoirs or directly to the thruster. This research will provide accurate predictions for the flow rate limits and corresponding critical flow velocities. The Principal Investigator (PI) is Michael Dreyer, University of Bremen, ZARM.

FIRST MATERIALS SCIENCE RESEARCH RACK (MSRR 1): The MSRR 1 Project kicked off the Integrated Payload Critical Design Review (CDR) on April 18, 2002. Representatives from the International Space Station (ISS) Program, European Space Agency (ESA), and Space Product Development (SPD) attended. This is the final design review of the integrated facility payload, which consists of the experiment carrier and an initial complement of two experiment module subrack payloads. The Preboard meeting is scheduled for June 5, 2002.



NCMR WORKSHOP ON DIAGNOSTICS, IMAGING AND SPECTROSCOPY - Potential for Biomedical and Industry Applications: The Workshop was held on April 26, 2002 at The George S. Dively Conference Center at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). The objectives of the workshop were (1) to increase awareness and encourage more interaction between area researchers interested in the development and application of diagnostic, imaging and spectroscopic techniques and (2) establish whether there is a need for a workshop oriented toward industry that could either lead to direct interaction between industry and researchers, or lead to teaming between industry and these researchers to compete for research funds from NASA and other government agencies. There were twelve presentations by researchers from CWRU, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, University Hospitals of Cleveland, NASA GRC and the NCMR. Two surveyed diagnostic techniques and applications currently in use or in development at the NCMR and NASA GRC. Other presenters covered specific techniques and including confocal microscopy, magnetic resonance imaging, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, ultrasound, atomic force microscopy and molecular imaging. Applications included processes in bone, cardiovascular and intravascular imaging, imaging self-assembly, and 'the eye as a window to the body using direct light scattering'. The workshop was attended by 73 participants with 11 poster presentations from the local area such as The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, University Hospital, Cleveland State University, Keithley Instruments, Northrop Grumman Corp., NASA GRC, CWRU, and NCMR. The meeting was chaired by Iwan Alexander (NCMR), and William Meyer (NCMR), David Fischer (NASA GRC), and Nihad Daidzic (NCMR) served as the organizing committee. This workshop was a joint effort between NCMR/NASA and the CWRU Biophotonics Department with the purpose of fostering mutually beneficial interactions between industrial and academic/government research groups and to expose research results, knowledge bases, and technologies for potential application to industry.


COMBUSTION SYNTHESIS OF COMPOSITE MATERIALS UNDER MICROGRAVITY CONDITIONS: This investigation on combustion synthesis, or self-propagating high temperature synthesis (SHS) is being led by Prof. J. Moore of Colorado School of Mines (CSM) as a means of synthesizing a wide range of advanced materials, i.e., ceramics, intermetallics, metal matrix composites and ceramic matrix composites. The low-gravity experiments for producing "foamed" or "expanded" composites, conducted on NASA airplanes, have shown that SHS holds the promise of making possible near-net-shape implants from impressions of damaged bone areas in rapid on-site processing. Establishing the relationships between the processing parameters and the material properties that are crucial to widespread application of the technology. The processing parameters include compositions and densities of the starting powders, ignition temperatures, combustion temperatures, and gravity. The material properties include pore sizes and distributions, mechanical properties, surface composition and structure, biocompatibility and bioactivity. The CSM research team has recently made major advances in the science of combustion synthesis for bone replacement. Notable accomplishments include the first successful B4C-Al2O3 implant into a rat skull, which showed significant natural bone in-growth within 30 days, the first successful TiB-Ti-TiO2 implant into a rat skull, which demonstrated the importance of surface oxide layer (TiO2) on bone growth, and the first successful production of Ca3(PO4)2 by combustion synthesis. An innovative new biomaterial that CSM scientists are now synthesizing is a porous NiTi that exhibits both "shape memory" and "super-elasticity". This material could find new applications in the development of "smart" implants.

Combustion synthesis also has important potential applications in high-temperature filters and insulation, catalyst supports and heat transfer materials. Recent advances at CSM in synthesizing functionally graded materials offer exciting new opportunities for fabricating very high-temperature, lightweight, heat radiators for spacecraft propulsion utilizing, for example, nuclear energy. The primary materials of current interest are TiC-Ti ceramic-metal composites. The possibility of producing these materials in a functionally graded form; i.e., wherein the porosity or the composition, or both, are varied from the heat source to the heat sink, holds promise for fabrication of radiators combining the high surface area of a porous high-temperature ceramic at the heat source with the strength of a metal-ceramic composite at the heat sink. In a major accomplishment, CSM has recently succeeded in producing such a graded material using combustion synthesis. By grading the composition from TiC on the heat-source side to a composite of Ti and TiC on the heat-sink side, it is possible for the radiator to be engineered to withstand heat sources at temperatures up to 2800 oC, the synthesis temperature of TiC, which is far higher than any known material used for this purpose to date. The grading is done in the starting powder mixture for the combustion synthesis process by increasing the Ti content toward the heat-sink side. Because the excess titanium (melting point 1675 oC) fills the pores in the TiC during the combustion synthesis process, the porosity is also graded, from a highly porous material presenting a high surface area to the heat source, where good heat transfer is needed between the heat-source medium and the radiator, to a dense material providing strength and matching of mechanical properties to an outer structural shell of Ti, for example, of the heat pipe or elements of the propulsion system that will be in thermal communication with the heat sink.


EVAPORATION OF A SESSILE DROPLET ON A SUBSTRATE: Fluid Physics PI Prof. Ronald G. Larson (University of Michigan) and his team investigated the evaporation of a sessile droplet with a pinned contact line experimentally, by analytic theory and by computation using the finite element method (FEM). It is found both theoretically and experimentally that the net evaporation rate from the droplet remains almost constant with time for a small initial contact angle (contact angle < 40°), even though the evaporation flux becomes more strongly singular at the edge of the droplet as the contact angle decreases during evaporation. They also measured the critical contact angle at which the contact line starts to recede and found that it is about 2-4° for clean water on glass. Finally, they compare the results obtained by our FEM analysis with an analytical solution and derive a very simple approximate evaporation rate expression, which agrees with the theoretical results of earlier investigators. The approximate expression is also compared with droplet evaporation data from the literature, and good agreement is found without any parameter fitting. The evaporation of a sessile droplet is not only important in many heat transfer applications but is associated with common, everyday phenomena, such as the annoying ring-like spots left on dishes that are allowed to dry. Recently, important new applications of this simple phenomenon have emerged. Jing and co-workers 1 have developed a high-throughput automatic DNA mapping method based on drying droplet. In this technique, water evaporation is used both to induce a microscopic flow that stretches DNA molecules and to deposit those molecules onto a substrate where they can be subjected to a restriction digestion. Thus, there are new motivations for revisiting the old problem of a drying sessile droplet. [Hua Hu and Ronald G. Larson, "Evaporation of a Sessile Droplet on a Substrate," J. Phys. Chem. B 2002, 106, 1334-1344.]

DEVELOPMENT OF AN INTERFEROMETER FOR MEASUREMENT OF THE DIFFUSION COEFFICIENT OF MISCIBLE LIQUIDS: Drs. Nasser Rashidnia and R. Balasubramaniam (both of NCMRFC/GRC) have developed a common-path interferometer (CPI) system to measure the diffusivity of transparent liquid pairs by real-time visualization of the concentration gradient profile. The CPI is an optical technique that can be used to measure changes in the gradient of the refractive index of transparent materials. The CPI is a shearing interferometer that shares the same optical path from a laser light source to the final imaging plane. Molecular diffusivity of liquids can be determined by use of physical relations between changes in the optical path length and the liquid phase properties. The data obtained by this interferometer are compared with similar results from other techniques. This demonstrates that the instrument is reliable for measurement of the diffusivity of miscible liquids and allows the system to be compact and robust. It can also be useful for studies in interface dynamics as well as other applications in a low-gravity environment. [Nasser Rashidnia and R. Balasubramaniam, "Development of an interferometer for measurement of the diffusion coefficient of miscible liquids", Applied Optics, Vol. 41, No. 7(1337-42) March 2002.]

***FLUID PHYSICS PI PROF. TARBELL ELECTED ASME FELLOW: Fluid physics PI Prof. John M. Tarbell (Pennsylvania State University) was elected Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). "He is internationally recognized for his contributions to cardiovascular fluid mechanics, arterial wall transport, and artificial heart fluid mechanics, including the function of mechanical heart valves and blood-damage in mechanical devices. He has pioneered the development of in vitro endothelial transport models for examining the permeability of the endothelial barrier. As an educator, he has mentored more than 50 graduate students, nearly half of whom have already obtained their doctorates. A number of students have won major awards for their research in student competitions.."


***FUNDAMENTAL PHYSICS INVESTIGATOR WINS AWARD: The Optical Society of America has presented the R. W. Wood Prize for 2002 to Pierre Meystre of the University of Arizona. The prize is presented in recognition of an outstanding discovery, a scientific or technological achievement, or an invention. The citation reads "Awarded to Pierre Meystre for seminal contributions to free-electron laser, cavity QED [Quantum-Electrodynamics], and micromaser; and most recently, the "invention" of the new field of nonlinear atom optics." Meystre holds the Quantum Optics Chair in the Optical Sciences Center at Arizona and is the principal investigator for the Fundamental Physics task "Atom Optics in Controlled and Microgravity Environments."


Additional meetings and symposia can be found at:

The MRPO Program Calendar can be found at:

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