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Iron Corrosion

Iron Corrosion

LGHS Iron Corrosion investigates the behavior of iron as it is exposed to corroding elements in a microgravity environment and measures the ability of the iron to conduct electricity through electrical resistance testing.

Customer Name: Los Gatos High School
Research: Iron Corrosion in Microgravity
NanoRacks Facility: NanoLab Platform
Mission Duration: 09/2012 – 09/2013
Mission Status: Complete
More Info: From NASA website


Los Gatos High School develops MicroLab experiment for the International Space Station (ISS) along with the Valley Christian High School team.

Research Overview

NanoRacks-Los Gatos High School-Corrosion Behavior of Pure Iron (NanoRacks-LGHS-Iron Corrosion) investigates the behavior of iron as it is exposed to corroding elements in a microgravity environment. Iron is available in meteorites and potentially the soil on Mars and may become a useful building material if space is colonized.

NanoRacks-LGHS-Iron Corrosion visualizes corrosion patterns and also measures the ability of the iron to conduct electricity through electrical resistance testing.

NanoRacks-LGHS-Iron Corrosion enables scientists to begin to understand whether building materials such as iron will show different characteristics in a microgravity environment than they do on Earth.

Description

NanoRacks-Los Gatos High School-Corrosion Behavior of Pure Iron (NanoRacks-LGHS-Iron Corrosion) is an investigation on the effect of microgravity on the corrosion pattern rate of iron. Hypotheses include: the rate of corrosion increases due to increased collisions between acidic vapor and solid iron, the pattern of corrosion is round and more evenly distributed (versus on Earth where according to research, uneven oval patterns are seen).

The NanoLab unit is composed of two custom designed printed circuit boards, a camera board, 8 glass vials containing samples of iron, a plastic base with reservoirs containing acidified or deionized water, a plastic “bladder” used to “eject” a metal pin and line up the vials and the reservoirs upon initiation, and accompanying wiring and sensors for light-emitting diodes (LEDs), humidity, and electrical resistance. The following data is collected throughout the 30-day period: photographs, electrical resistance and humidity measurements.

Space Applications

If space is colonized, understanding whether iron can be used as an on-site building material is critical. Since humans require water, this water will be in any human inhabited environment and may therefore be available to corrode iron or other metals used as building materials.

Earth Applications

This is a STEM educational project that is being used to teach high school students about engineering. A team of eleven students is working with three adult mentors to design and implement this experiment. These students are our future engineers and astronauts.

Operational Protocols

Crew interaction with Module-22 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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