Discipline: Technology and Engineering
Subcategory: Electrical Engineering
Room: Exhibit Hall A
Frederick Brooks - Lawson State Community College
Co-Author(s): Dr. Padetha Tin, NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio
Liquid crystal is a substance that has similar properties to both liquids and solid crystals. Substances such as colloids crystallize completely naturally; in this project, a liquid crystal solution that crystallizes in the same manner was used. The goal of the project seeks to examine this crystallization process. In order to properly examine this process, it was necessary to construct a mixing device that will turn the liquid crystal solution into a homogeneous mixture. This was achieved by using a Raspberry Pi microcontroller that controls 8 relays that are connected to 4 solenoids. With that, the correct circuit was formed that properly connected these 3 elements with accompanying code that allowed the desired operation. Fundamentally, the device makes use of a circular magnetic field from the solenoids that spins a magnetic stir bar that lies in between the solenoids thus homogenously mixing the solution. This is important because the solution needs to have no naturally formed crystals at the start of the observation, it needs to start from scratch. The act of mixing the solutions in this manner destroy any naturally formed crystals prior to observation. The homogenization device operated as intended. The device was tested by putting the liquid crystal solutions into the device, mixing it, then examining it under a microscope to ensure all crystal formations were destroyed. This process was repeated many times to ensure effectiveness and consistency. Further work can include the use of stronger solenoids, a version of the device with more than four solenoids, a magnetic stir bar with a stronger magnetization, or more detailed and varied coding for the device.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): NASA Glenn Research Center
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Shawanda Thomas, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: I put together the entirety of the mixing device. My mentor created the solenoid device, but I circuited up all the wires and wrote the code for the device.