Title: Development And Characterization Of A Low Intensity Vibrational System For Microgravity Studies
Program: Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering
Advisor: Dr. Gunes Uzer, Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering
Committee Members: Dr. Aykut Satici, Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering (Co-Chair); and Dr. Zhangxian Deng, Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering
The advent of extended-duration human spaceflight demands a better comprehension of the physiological impacts of microgravity. One primary concern is the adverse impact on the musculoskeletal system, including muscle atrophy and bone density reduction. Ground-based microgravity simulations have provided insights, with vibrational bioreactors emerging as potential mitigators of these negative effects. Despite the potential they have, the adaptation of vibrational bioreactors for space remains unfulfilled, resulting in a significant void in microgravity research. This paper introduces the first automated low-intensity vibrational (LIV) bioreactor designed specifically for the International Space Station (ISS) environment. Our research covers the bioreactor’s design and characterization, the selection of an optimal linear guide for consistent 1-axis acceleration, a thorough analysis of its thermal and diffusion dynamics, and the pioneering use of BioMed Clear resin for enhanced scaffold design. This advancement sets the stage for more authentic space-based biological studies, vital for ensuring the safety of future space explorations.