The pre-recorded talks and posters on this page showcase the work of students who received NC Space Grant research funding during 2021-2022. The menu at right provides links to pre-recorded talks and posters by other funded students on additional topics.

Samantha Eason 

NASA Internship Award at Glenn Research Center – Summer 2021
North Carolina State University
Undergraduate Student (Junior), Industrial and Systems Engineering

Integration of Capillary Forces in Microgravity and STEM Education

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) operates the most advanced microgravity test facilities in the world. Ground facilities such as Glenn Research Center’s (GRC) drop towers allow scientists to mimic the space environment for minuscule amounts of time to collect data and test equipment. Is there a way to use these cutting-edge resources to introduce students to high-level concepts early in their academic careers? Researchers have been interested in answering this question by combining fluid physics and high school educational programs. While NASA researchers are investigating capillary action onboard the International Space Station (ISS), students across the country are also getting opportunities to work on capillary action research. One of NASA’s 2011 mission directives was to increase the amount of Science, Engineering, Technology, and Mathematics (STEM) opportunities at its centers. Outreach challenges such as Capillary Effects on Liquids Exploratory Research Experiments (CELERE) and the ISS Washing Machine Challenge, allow students of all ages and backgrounds to be a part of microgravity fluids research. The CELERE Challenge has been conducted at GRC for several years but requires extensive updating before it can be opened for submissions again. After extensive discussion, new software, documentation, and websites were developed for CELERE to make it easier for students to participate. Additionally, the ISS Washing Machine Challenge, ran a trial run to simulate competition and get feedback from students. When opened, both challenges will provide students with ample opportunities to get involved in STEM topics and develop a greater understanding of fluid physics and microgravity.

Mentor: Tyler Hatch, NASA Glenn Research Center