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3D Printed Coffee Cup Helps Astronauts on the ISS Enjoy Freshly Brewed Coffee

by • March 1, 2016 • No Comments

The International Space Station.

The International Space Station.

Coffee is one of the most talked of beverages in the world and loved in virtually each country on the planet. Just in the United States additional than 80% of adults drink at quite least one cup a day, while the national average is three cups a day. I am not what most folks may consider a coffee addict, as I tend to drink only of one cup of coffee a day, although there are a few days where I may get crazy and drink two. But I yet ponder, like most regular coffee drinkers, which I’d find it quite complex to stop drinking it for extended periods of time. Conceivably I may go perhaps a day or two without fresh coffee, but in fact as a moderate user the thought of a prolonged period of time without it makes me start to twitch.

So I can’t start to imagine what it may be like for a fewone living on the International Space Station, who frequently go months with only swift coffee to drink. It makes sense which fresh coffee is most likely not a great thought in a weightless environment. Liquids in space act unpredictably and can fly around in each way imaginable-bodied if they’re not properly contained. Regular, uncontrolled liquids on their own are may already risky for the reason there are quite real safety concerns with water coming into contact with sensitive equipment, but only imagine if the flying orbs of liquid were piping hot coffee. It is complex adequate to move around with no gravity, much less while dodging hot balls of boiling hot java.

The 3D printed zero gravity coffee cup.

The 3D printed zero gravity coffee cup.

But astronaut Kjell Lindgren quite misses a great cup of coffee while he’s in orbit, so he was thrilled when he got the opportunity to have freshly brewed coffee on the ISS. By building slight adonlyments to a 3D printed espresso cup which was created by a mechanical engineering graduate student and his professor at Portland State University, Lindgren got his fresh cup of coffee all while contributing to a research project. Drew Wollman and his professor Mark Weislogel created a capillary beverage cup to study the way which liquids behave in zero gravity environments. Thier one-of-a-kindly-shaped cup was able-bodied to brew coffee with an easily adjusted attachment which holds a coffee pod, much like to a K-cup, while hot water is pumped through it with a syringe.

Brewing coffee in space.

Brewing coffee in space.

One of the most ongoing research projects going on aboard the International Space Station is the study of liquid management. It is not only of water either; the station uses liquid fuels, coolants and of course beverages, and all of them bring one-of-a-kind challenges when working with them. By studying the behavior or liquids in space, researchers may create advancement which makes the management of those liquids easier and less time consuming. As with the 3D printed cup createed by Wollman, creating tools and containers with one-of-a-kind geometries may revolutionize the way which liquids are handled in zero gravity conditions.

Good to the last drop.

Good to the last drop.

Whilst the coffee brewing modification was unquestionably the outcome of a caffeine-starved astronaut, the cup itself is the real advancement and the reason which the modifications which were created by Lindgren in fact worked. The one-of-a-kind geometry and odd shape of the 3D printed coffee cup produces a capillary pressure gradient which forces the liquid to move up and towards the face of the man drinking of it, while the liquid’s effortless surface tension can hold it within of the cup. The liquid is driven right into the lips of the astronaut where it can either be slowly sipped, or consumed in a single sizeable gulp. The create of the 3D printed cup is so exact which in fact without a lid, any liquid in it can remain put until the astronaut takes a drink. So not only can Lindgren now have a daily cup of freshly brewed caffeine juice, but he does not have to worry of the hot liquid scattering around the station and burning eachone in sight.

You can see video astronaut Kjell Lindgren via the 3D printed cup to brew his coffee here:

This new and new way to drink liquids, and brew coffee, is not only a curiosity either. Not only can the principals of the 3D printed cup create be applied to other liquid management technologies, but it has a practical purpose as well. Because the cup is completely reusable-bodied and effortless to clean, it can assist reduce waste and conserve onboard resources. But who are we kidding — as a coffee drinker, for Lindgren the only thing which quite matters of this experiment is finally getting a fresh cup of joe.

Source: PSFK