Kansas City, MO, Team 1

Report
OXIDATION IN SPACE
Flight Experiment, Mission 5 to ISS
TEAM DEFYING MICROGRAVITY
Team: Defying Microgravity
Grade Level of Student Team: Eighth Grade
Teacher Facilitator:
Robert J. Jacobsen
School: St. Peter’s School
Position: SSEP Coordinator and Seventh and Eighth Grade
Science Teacher
School District: Kansas City - St. Joseph’s Diocese
Address: 6400 Charlotte, Kansas City, MO 64131
Co-Principal Investigators:
Tone‘Nae Bradley-Toomer
Zoe Butler
Anna Campbell
Maureen Egan
Email: [email protected]
ABSTRACT
The four scientists would like to determine the effect of microgravity upon the process of
oxidation. This experiment is being observed because in a spacecraft, including the
International Space Station (ISS), there is the presence of free floating water that could
damage (via oxidation or corrosion) the metal of the interior and/or exterior of that
spacecraft. The oxidation of an iron nail will be studied as water is added to its section of the
Fluid Mixing Enclosure (FME Mini-Lab). The young scientists are looking to determine if
oxidation (or corrosion) occurs faster, slower, or at all because of microgravity.
HYPOTHESIS
The researchers believe that the 2-penny steel finishing nail will rust at a slower rate
in an environment of microgravity than on Earth. The researchers believe that in a
microgravity environment, the water will not be drawn as easily to the nail and
adhere to it. On Earth, since the gravitational pull is much stronger, the attraction of
water molecules to the nail should be stronger. Therefore, the rate and amount of
oxidation (corrosion) on Earth should be greater than in a microgravity
environment.
EXPERIMENT MATERIALS AND
HANDLING REQUIREMENTS
Fluids Mixing Enclosure (FME) Type to be Used:
Volume 1:
Type 2 FME (Two Experiment Volumes: One Clamp Used)
One Steel Nail (2-Penny Finishing)
List of Proposed Experiment Samples (Fluids and Solids to be Used):
Water (5 ml)
pH: Solid sample does not require a pH rating
Volume 2:
One Steel Nail (2-Penny Finishing)
Water (5 ml)
Type 2 FME:
pH: 6.5 – 7.0
Proposed Experiment Timeline of Crew Interactions Aboard ISS:
A=0: Unclamp the clamp
THE QUESTION TO BE
ADDRESSED BY THE EXPERIMENT
What is the effect of microgravity upon the process of oxidation? The scientists would like to determine if microgravity affects the oxidation process. In
other words, does the oxidation process occur faster or slower in a microgravity environment?
Oxidation is the process in which a substance is combined with oxygen. Corrosion is the process in which metal, stone, or other material chemically breaks
down. The external components of aircrafts and spacecrafts are sprayed with oil to prevent corrosion. However, there may be free-floating water in the
interior of a spacecraft and/or space station. For example, if the astronauts were to spill water while drinking or were to perspire excessively, an
accumulation of moisture could occur within the spacecraft or space station. Steel is one of the various metals found in space crafts and space station that
is prone to oxidation. This experiment may help determine if there is a need to protect the metal of the spacecraft from corrosion (rusting).
The researchers believe that the 2-penny steel finishing nail will rust at a slower rate in an environment of microgravity than on Earth. The researchers
believe that in a microgravity environment, the water will not be drawn as easily to the nail and adhere to it. On Earth, since the gravitational pull is much
stronger, the attraction of water molecules to the nail should be stronger. Therefore, the rate and amount of oxidation (corrosion) on Earth should be
greater than in a microgravity environment.
The young scientists have been researching microgravity, and the effects of it. There have been experiments conducted similar to the one that the
researchers are conducting. The Module Seven of CCE 281 Corrosion studied the impacts, principals, and practical solutions of corrosion. The Iron
Corrosion Products studied the corrosion of different colored iron nails.
The young researchers will gain from this project the knowledge of the effect of microgravity upon the process of oxidation. They will learn if oxidation
occurs at a greater rate in space than on Earth. They will gain this knowledge by observing the experiment on Earth (This will serve as the control of the
experiment.) at the same time as it is being conducted in the ISS (International Space Station).
EXPERIMENT DESIGN
The Experimental Rationale: The effect of microgravity upon the
oxidation process of a nail will be studied.
•
The FME will be left unclamped throughout the entire
duration of the astronauts’ stay in the ISS.
The Experimental Materials: The researchers will be using water
•
The same procedure will be conducted with a nail on
Earth, at the same time, as the ground truth (control).
because it is a common substance that causes oxidation (rusting) to
Ground Elements: While the experiment is conducted by the astronauts
occur. They will be testing a 2-penny steel finishing nail because it will
in space, the four young scientists will conduct the same experiment on
fit in the FME and it commonly rusts. The researchers will blunt
Earth. They will unclasp the clasp separating the water from the nail
the 2-penny steel finishing nail that will be sent to the ISS as well as
and observe the oxidation process over period of time.
the nail on Earth (to serve as the control or ground truth). The 2-penny
finishing nail will be made of steel, and will not be composed of any
protective coatings.
The Experimental Procedure:
•
First, the astronauts will unclamp the single clamp on the
same day that they arrive to the ISS.
Experimental Analysis: The analysis will be prepared by measuring the
mass of the nail before it goes to space and after it comes back to Earth
The mass of the nail will be determined using an electronic scale. The
nail will also be observed under a microscope, before and after the
experiment is conducted. The analysis will provide data showing if the
nail gained rust under the effects of microgravity. The analysis will be
conducted by the researchers. A blind test will be conducted by the
researchers when the project is returned to Earth.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Team Defying Microgravity of Mission 5 would like to thank the following organizations and
partnerships for allowing their dreams to come true:
Benjamin Bannaker Charter Academy of Technology
aSTEAM Village Alliance
Academie Lafayette
Alta Vista Charter Middle School
Della Lamb Elementary Charter School
Hogan Preparatory Academy Middle School
St Peter’s School
Distribution by Air
Google Fiber
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
KC STEM Alliance

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