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Valley Christian Schools electroplating experiment examines the effects of electro-plating of gold and bronze in microgravity aboard the ISS and compares the results of identical electro-plating on Earth.

Customer Name: Valley Christian Schools
Research: Electroplating
NanoRacks Facility: NanoLab Platform
Mission Duration: 03/2012 – 03/2012
Mission Status: Complete
More Info: From NASA website


NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Electroplating (NanoRacks-VCHS-Electroplating) examines bronze and gold electroplating under microgravity conditions and compares the plating roughness against ground controlled electroplated samples using an Atomic Force Microscope.

Electroplating of bronze and gold films is conducted using non-toxic electroplating solutions. The materials for this experiment are bronze and plating solutions and a stainless steel anode. Nine polystyrene test tubes with 25 mL of each plating solution are in each of the two sub-modules. The electronic circuitry provides a selectable constant current source for each one of the nine plating solutions. The electroplating process is photographed with time lapse digital imagery. The electroplating solution temperature and surrounding humidity is recorded.

Space Applications

If it is determined that electroplating in space produces more consistent plating than plating on the ground, this could result in the start of a new commercial space plating industry.

Earth Applications

A better and more consistent method of electroplating could result in the start of a new commercial space plating industry that would result in more jobs and plating applications.

Operational Requirements

NanoRacks Module-16 and Module-20 are completely autonomous and only requires installation and removal. NanoRacks Module–16 and Module-20 return to earth via a Russian Soyuz return capsule.

Operational Protocols

Crew interaction with Module-16 and Module-20 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.

Read more at Valley Christian Schools website.

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