NASA welcomes USU students

USU’s Get Away Special Team (GAS), a group of student researchers, are among 14 undergraduate teams selected nationally to participate in NASA’s Microgravity University program for a second consecutive year.The GAS team will travel to Houston, Texas June 2-11 to conduct a heat-transfer experiment aboard NASA’s Vomit Comet. The comet is a modified plane that flies in a series of parabolic arches, allowing researchers inside to experience reduced-gravity conditions.The Follow Up Nucleate Boiling On-flight Experiment, or FUNBOE 2.0, building on last year’s experiment, will test how effective boiling is at transferring heat in a reduced gravity environment, said Justin Koeln, mechanical and aerospace engineering senior and the GAS team’s technical lead.”When you boil something on Earth, the bubbles go up, but in space there is no real ‘up,’ so where do the bubbles go?” Koeln said.It was originally thought that the bubbles would stay around the wire or heating element and cause it to overheat, he said, but the experiment showed that bubbles moved away from the wire, keeping it cool.”Boiling liquid is the most efficient method of transferring heat,” said Heng Ban, associate professor in the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering and one of the GAS team’s faculty advisers. “This technology is smaller and more efficient, which gives you more room to play with in your design.”This technology may also allow for computer chips to become less expensive, Koeln said.

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