Students from Purdue University and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University were chosen by NASA to create an original experiment in "capillary fluid dynamics" through the space agency's National Lab Education Projects for the International Space Station, a Purdue release announced Monday.
The experiment, which will be designed to study the physics of how fluids change shape inside tubes in zero gravity, will provide data that could help in the design of systems that require the precise control of fluids and gases, such as life-support equipment and fuel tanks for spacecraft.
"This project will give students unique and in-depth, real-world, team-based, original, design-build-test educational experiences that will accelerate their learning and their careers," said Steven Collicott, a Purdue professor of aeronautics and astronautics whose students are involved in the project.
Collicot is leading the project with John Kizito, a professor of mechanical engineering at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
"The collaboration will expose our students -- the next generation of explorers -- to microgravity science and technology," Kizito said.
Engineering students at both universities will design and build the shoebox-size experiment.
"We anticipate the experiment becoming operational in orbit in 2014 or 2015," Collicott said.