Spin Your Thesis! 2014 call now open

The LDC at ESTEC
9 September 2013

Teams of university students are invited to submit proposals for hypergravity experiments for the next Spin Your Thesis! campaign which will take place in autumn of 2014. The deadline to submit proposals is 9 December 2013.

ESA’s Spin Your Thesis! (SYT) programme gives undergraduate and postgraduate students from ESA Member and Cooperating States* a rare opportunity to design and conduct experiments that need hypergravity, as part of their syllabus.

The experiments can be devoted to a broad spectrum of science and technology. They will be conducted in the Large Diameter Centrifuge (LDC) in ESA’s Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands.

Mounted inside the centrifuge gondolas, experiments can be exposed to accelerations of up to 20 times Earth’s gravity. The centrifuge is flexible in terms of experiment scenarios, duration and hardware.

The LDC supports six gondolas, plus one in the centre for control experiments. Each gondola supports a maximum payload of 80 kg, and student experiments can last from a few minutes to several days, if needed.

HyperMEA team install their experiment

A review board will select the best experiment proposals to be performed in the LDC.  The European Low Gravity Research Association (ELGRA) will support ESA in the team selection process and provide expert mentors throughout the experiment design and completion.

Students who have taken part in previous campaigns have found them to be valuable additions to their programmes of studies:

“Thanks to my participation in SYT, I have gained experience and knowledge in many areas, from researching the topic that we wanted to study to analysing the really interesting data we recorded,” said Anna Garcia-Sabaté, who participated in SYT 2012.

“It was a great opportunity for me to improve my mechanical and electrical skills, as well as my organisational skills. The results obtained will be a part of my PhD thesis which focuses on the effects of different gravity levels on the interaction of ultrasounds with fluids. I will probably continue to participate in different gravity-related projects.”

The LDC in action

Teams from ESA Member States and Cooperating States are encouraged to register via the ESA Education Office's project portal and upload their proposals before 9 December 2013.

The conditions to apply and the eligibility criteria can be found here.

The selection of up to four teams is expected to be announced in February 2014.

Spin Your Thesis! 2013

The ‘Spin Your Thesis!’ 2013 programme is already under way. Teams from the Czech Republic, Italy and Belgium have been selected to participate, and their LDC campaigns will take place from 23 September to 3 October 2013.

Their experiments will examine the behaviour of gliding arcs of plasma in noble gases; the effect of hypergravity on the thermal hydraulic behaviour of a closed-loop pulsating heat pipe; the combined effect of hypergravity and barium titanate nanoparticles on bone-forming stem cells; and the effect of hypergravity on the Leidenfrost point.

Background

The first ‘Spin Your Thesis!’ campaign took place in 2010. Since then, every annual campaign has enabled up to four teams of university students to develop and conduct hypergravity experiments using the Large Diameter Centrifuge facility.

As a direct consequence of the research they conducted during these campaigns, some of the student teams were able to present their results at international conferences and/or publish papers in leading scientific journals.

* ESA Member States in 2013 
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Canada (Associate Member)
European Cooperating States
Estonia, Hungary, Slovenia, Latvia
Cooperating states
Cyprus, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia
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