|Project Summary||Project Information|
The original project information was presented to MSD Team P14651 in the form of a Project Readiness Package
For an updated version created by the team after the system design phase, click the following link. Project Proposal
Interest was shown in having a microgravity simulation device somewhere within KGCOE. Microgravity, or apparently weightlessness, can be accomplished on Earth for a few seconds by putting objects in a state of free fall and eliminating all forces except for gravity. This was accomplished by creating a classroom friendly, scaled down and simplified model of NASA’s 132 meter (5.18 second) “Zero-G Facility.” This method, commonly referred to as a drop tower, utilizes a containerless near vacuum chamber in the form of a vertical shaft, so that the object(s) can fall within it under the sole effects of gravity (i.e. no air resistance).
The primary goal of this project is to use the device as a teaching tool for students at varying levels of study. Primarily, middle school and high school students can use the drop tower to experimentally explore the effects of gravity on two objects, such as a ball-bearing and a feather. These objects can be dropped simultaneously in atmosphere and near vacuum environments to demonstrate gravity and air resistance concepts. Also, undergraduates can calculate and then test the effects of aerodynamic drag on various objects at different air pressures. The tower can also be demonstrated for the general public at Imagine RIT, E3 Fair, or other events. In the long run the design could even be modified to suit research needs, such as filming the boiling sites in a falling beaker of water.
The drop tower is nearly 12 feet tall in total and its structure is completely mobile, allowing for use at various locations. It also has a data collection and analysis system to collect data in terms of the objects fall path. This information is used to calculate standard gravity of 9.81 m/s2 with 1% error and the data can also be saved for further analysis. Throughout this web directory you will find the following: description of requirements, concept development, design analysis, final results and much more.
For a video showing the difference between a feather and a ping pong ball falling in atmospheric vs. vacuum conditions, click the following link:
Test ResultsA number of test were performed over the course of the project. These tests can be viewed in detail by clicking the "Build, Test, Document" below in the Table of Contents. Here is a final summary of Customer and Engineering Requirements.
Representative LabVIEW Display Output
Customer / Sponsor
|Adam Hertzlin||Mechanical Engineerfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Dustin Bordonaro||Mechanical Engineeremail@example.com|
|Jake Gray||Mechanical Engineerfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Santiago Murcia||Mechanical Engineeremail@example.com|
|Yoem Clara||Mechanical Engineerfirstname.lastname@example.org|
Table of Contents
|MSD I||MSD II|
Throughout the course of the project the team sought advice from a range of professionals across a variety of topics. First, we would like to acknowledge our primary customer and sponsor, Dr. Satish Kandlikar. Dr. Kandlikar envisioned the product concept and supplied crucial feedback to the team. Next, we would like to acknowledge our team guide, Mr. Charlie Tabb, who regularly kept the team organized and focused while also providing support and advice at all stages of the design process.
The team would also like to acknowledge to the following faculty members at RIT:
John Bonzo – Waterjetting assistance
Bill Finch – IT support, provided project computer and software
Dave Hathaway – General machining assistance
Robert Kraynik – Welding, machining assistance and design support
Dr. Mark Kempski – LabVIEW and design support
Jan Maneti – Welding and machining assistance
Dr. Harvey Palmer – KGCOE Dean, General design support
Dr. Risa Robinson – General design supportDr. Michael Schrlau – General design support
Bruce Tolleson – Microfab Technician at Semiconductor & Micro-systems Fabrication Laboratory at RIT, pump support
Dr. Wayne Walter – Release mechanism design support
Prof. John Wellin – Laser, DAQ & LabVIEW support