Keith Hautala

By

College: Engineering

NASA Awards Major Grant to Kentucky Engineers and Scientists for Space Research

Published: Jul 28, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 28, 2014) — NASA has awarded a major grant to the University of Kentucky for a research project that will take place, in part, aboard the International Space Station (ISS), but which could yield knowledge with imminently useful applications here on Earth.

 

The project, a collaboration with scientists and engineers from the University of Louisville and Western Kentucky University, will conduct fundamental physics experiments on colloids, mixtures in which microscopic particles of one substance are suspended within another substance and remain evenly distributed throughout. Examples of colloids include fog (microdroplets of water suspended in air), blood (blood cells suspended in plasma), and milk (microglobules of butterfat suspended in whey, a water-based solution).

 

The International Space Station is what makes this research possible, says Suzanne Smith, the project's managing principal investigator. Researchers will take advantage of the space station's micro-gravity environment to perform experiments that cannot be performed accurately on the planet's surface because of the influence of gravity.

 

“ISS orbits Earth every one and a half hours and its laboratory facilities allow scientists, including researchers right here in Kentucky, to make new discoveries and prove scientific theories,” said Smith, UK's Donald and Gertrude Lester Professor of Mechanical Engineering and director of the NASA Kentucky Space Grant and EPSCoR Programs.

 

Insights into colloidal physics and self-assembly processes are needed to develop new materials with enhanced energy, thermal, optical, chemical and mechanical properties. Potential applications include more efficient solar energy panels, stronger and lighter aerospace materials, and less expensive electronic displays, both for space-related and terrestrial usage.

 

The project is a significant opportunity for Kentucky, says Stuart J. Williams, the project's principal scientific investigator.

 

“It allows researchers from three area universities to collaborate and strengthen the overall research profile with respect to colloidal research in the state," said Williams, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at UofL. "The International Space Station provides a unique environment that will yield insight into the physics of colloidal interactions, which is important for the development of the next generation of sophisticated materials.”

 

The project, titled “Influence of Gravity on Electrokinetic and Electrochemical Colloidal Self-Assembly for Future Materials,” has a $750,000 award contribution from NASA’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) with $300,000 additional matching funds from the NASA Kentucky EPSCoR Program.

 

The U.S. portion of the International Space Station was designated a National Laboratory in 2005 to maximize its potential for unique space-based research conditions. Astronauts onboard ISS support ground-based research teams by helping to perform experiments in space, sometimes via the live video link of a mission control console, such as that located at UK’s Space Systems Lab in Lexington.

 

The team also includes co-investigators Gerold Willing, UofL assistant professor of chemical engineering, Hemali Rathnayake, WKU assistant professor of chemistry, Janet Lumpp, UK associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and NASA partner Ronald Sicker. This team will collaborate with Advanced Colloid Experiments team at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, which conducts experiments on the International Space Station.

 

“I’m very proud of this team led by junior faculty members at Louisville and Western whose opportunity for important research will serve as an example to their colleagues,” Smith said.  “I want to thank NASA for selecting this proposal and investing, along with the state of Kentucky, in the significance of this work, which will help contribute to the state’s specialty in advanced manufacturing.”

 

This is the fifth year in a row that a Kentucky-based research team has been selected among the recipients of NASA’s EPSCoR Research Awards.  Previous teams have included researchers from UK, UL, Morehead State University, and Kentucky State University.

 

“Personally, as a native of Louisville, I am proud and enthusiastic when research opportunities, such as this one, are granted to a Kentucky university,” Williams said. “I foresee this as the first phase of a sustained collaborative effort with NASA’s Advanced Colloids Experiments research group at NASA Glenn Research Center.”

 

The research project will also include collaborations with industrial partners in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. 

 

Matthew Lynch, a member of NASA’s Advanced Colloids Experiments research group, was recently recognized by NASA with an award for excellence in ISS research for 2013.  Lynch, with Procter and Gamble of Cincinnati, will collaborate with the Kentucky research team and serve as a technical advisor.

 

Lynch has described research of colloids as having the potential to improve product design across multiple sectors and benefit millions of people worldwide, while leading also to new and advanced technologies.

 

This research project was funded through the NASA Kentucky EPSCoR Program, a statewide program hosted at UK with a mission to strengthen Kentucky’s research capability in areas of importance to NASA and the state by promoting development of research infrastructure, improving research competitiveness, and developing partnerships with NASA.

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Keith Hautala, 859-323-2396; keith.hautala@uky.edu

160554main_jsc2006e43519_high.jpgsmith_suzanne_sq.jpgwilliams_stuart_sq.jpg
Tags:
September
 
1
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Labor Day - Academic Holiday
Mon
2
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Internship Info Session
Student/Faculty/Staff Mixer
Tue
3
Employee Educational Assistance Award
LNFS Presents: The Wolf of Wall Street
Last Day to Add a Class
Last Day to Drop a Course with 80% Refund
UK Volunteer Fair
Wed
4
LNFS Presents: Children of Men
LNFS Presents: How To Train Your Dragon 2
Black and Latino Male Initiative
Advance Your Swagger: A Night with Fonzworth Bentely
Thu
5
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Northern Iowa
Kentucky Volleyball vs. USC
LNFS Presents: Spirited Away
LNFS Presents: Mulan
Fri
6
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Kentucky Football vs. Ohio
#maxfest (Ukirklex Campus Ministry)
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Creighton
Lets Swing Dance!
Sat
7
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Morehead State
Sun
8
Diversity Organization's Council
Kosher/Soul? (Jewish, African American & Appalachian culture Fuse)
Mon
9
Working Moms Connection
Job Club - Job Search Strategies for Fall
Rock Star Professionalism Series
Tue
10
Massage on the Go
College: Do the Right Thing- A conversation with Dr. Smith
The Future of Islam
LNFS Presents: Fight Club
Wed
11
9/11 Vigil
UKNABJ presents: Ferguson, Missouri: A look at media, politics and black youth in the U.S.
LNFS Presents: Mr & Mrs Smith
Duo Damiana, Molly Barth and Dieter Hennings
LNFS Presents: 22 Jump Street
Thu
12
LNFS Presents: Searching For Sugarman
LNFS Presents: Sin City
Fri
13
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Men's Soccer vs. ETSU
Sat
14
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Pepperdine
Sun
15
Kentucky Week Farmer's MarCat and Craft Fair
Majestic U.N.I.T.Y.
Mon
16
Justice Delayed not Justice Denied: A Talk with Dough Jones
PRHBTN Gallery Reception and Concert
Men's Soccer vs. Xavier
Chellgren Seminar Series: Buck Ryan
Tue
17
Internship Info Session
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Caregiver Support Group
LNFS Presents: The Immigrant
Big Blue Commonwealth
Wed
18
LNFS Presents: Watermark
LNFS Presents: X-Men: Days of Future Past
Ryan Gardner Guest Trumpet Recital
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Lipscomb
Thu
19
LNFS Presents: A Band Called Death
LNFS Presents: Prisoners
The Case for Fossil Fuels-PEIK Seminar
Men's Soccer vs. Furman
Fri
20
Rock Climbing @ Red River Gorge
College of Pharmacy Open House
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Xavier
Sat
21
 
Sun
22
Diana Ferrus: 'Writing poetry has allowed me to live': Cultural Resistance in South Africa
Kentucky Law Schools Forum
Mon
23
Pinterest Party
University of Kentucky Chamber Winds
Employer Showcase
Job Club - 10 Questions to Ask Prior to Starting a Business
Men's Soccer vs. Lousville
Tue
24
Employer Showcase
Last Day to Drop a Course with 50% Refund
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn
BPH Open House
LNFS Presents: Saving Mr. Banks
Wed
25
LNFS Presents: Culture Jam
LNFS Presents: Maleficent
¡Baila!
Thu
26
LNFS Presents: Ponyo
LNFS Presents: The Little Mermaid
Opening Night Bohemiam Festival
White Water Rafting @ Chattooga River
Women's Soccer vs. Mississippi State
Fri
27
White Water Rafting @ Chattooga River
Kentucky Football vs. Vanderbilt
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Green Apple Day of Service: "Pick It Up"
Swing Dancing!
Sat
28
White Water Rafting @ Chattooga River
UK Chorale
Dirty Dancing Trip
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Auburn
Sun
29
 
Mon
30
#TrendingTopics: Immigration Reform
Apollo Duo - Flute and Percussion Guest Recital
Tue
 
 
 
 
Sep 17
Internship Info Session 09/17/2014

Wed, 09/17/2014

Reset Page