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“Microgravity Research Team” (Mrt) Project Course

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Conference

2008 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Undergraduate Space Design and Project Courses

Tagged Division

Aerospace

Page Count

14

Page Numbers

13.1414.1 - 13.1414.14

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/3935

Download Count

278

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Paper Authors

biography

John Kuhlman West Virginia University

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John Kuhlman is a Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at West Virginia University. He received his Ph.D. degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1975, and his M.S. and B. S. Mechanical Engineering degrees also from CWRU in 1973 and 1970, respectively. His current research interests include spray cooling, reduced gravity fluid mechanics and heat transfer, and CFD. He is a course instructor for the WVU Microgravity Research Team project course, and also serves as co-instructor for the WVU Balloon Satellites project course.

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biography

Donald Gray West Virginia University

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Donald D. Gray is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at WVU. He received his Ph.D. degree in 1974 and his M.S. degree in 1969, both from Purdue University, and his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Tulane University in 1968. His research interests include spray cooling, reduced gravity fluid mechanics and heat transfer, and CO2 migration modeling. He is a course instructor for the WVU Microgravity Research Team project course.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

“Microgravity Research Team” (MRT) Project Course Abstract

Over the past eight years at West Virginia University a “hands-on” aerospace engineering experimental Microgravity Research Team (MRT) two-semester project course sequence has been developed and offered. During the first semester, the team of four to eight undergraduate students develops an experimental concept and hypothesis to be studied under microgravity conditions, and then submits a detailed technical proposal for their experiment for review by the NASA Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program (RGSFOP). Six successful experiments have been selected and flown on microgravity research aircraft in the past eight years, with a seventh team selected to fly their experiment during the summer of 2008. The student teams also perform outreach to local area school children, develop an accurate project budget, and engage in fund raising activities. During the second semester the team conducts the actual detailed design, constructs and tests their experimental apparatus, and submits the required engineering design and safety analysis document, the “Test Equipment Data Package,” to NASA. This report is analyzed by NASA engineers, and any concerns they raise are addressed by the team to ensure that their experiment will be accepted for the actual reduced gravity flights. Either during this semester, or during the following summer, the team travels to NASA Johnson Space Center to conduct their research aboard the NASA microgravity research aircraft. Afterwards, the experimental results are reduced and analyzed, and a final technical report containing their analysis is submitted to the NASA RGSFOP. Outreach continues through this second semester; these outreach activities are also documented in the final report. As part of the outreach activities, a website is maintained to document and publicize the projects. The main course goal is to provide students with a hardware-oriented, hands-on, open-ended research project experience. This course can fulfill a technical elective requirement in either the Aerospace Engineering or Mechanical Engineering curriculum. The six experiments that have been conducted by the West Virginia University MRTs over the past eight years are, in chronological order: 1. Control of a surface tension-driven corner flow in microgravity, 2. Control of liquid sloshing in microgravity via the magnetic Kelvin force, 3. Control of air bubble behavior in microgravity via the magnetic Kelvin force, 4. Circular hydraulic jump behavior in microgravity I: low flow rate, 5. Control of boiling in microgravity via the magnetic Kelvin force, 6. Circular hydraulic jump behavior in microgravity II: high flow rate, and 7. Viscous and capillary fingering in a Hele-Shaw cell in microgravity (to be flown in summer 2008). Overviews of the experiments that have been conducted and course procedures are given. Examples of the many positive personal and professional outcomes experienced by student participants are also recounted. Lessons learned by the faculty advisors and suggestions for other schools planning to participate in this program are summarized.

Kuhlman, J., & Gray, D. (2008, June), “Microgravity Research Team” (Mrt) Project Course Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/3935

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