The BIFROST-ONE campaign, a competition organized by Innoviris to encourage young people’s interest in sciences and engineering, organized its finals on March 22, 2017. The Chemical Engineering Department (CHIS) can happily announce that the team of the “Gravity Bubbles”-project has won the competition and will have the chance to participate in a parabolic flight.

Five students of the GO Atheneum Etterbeek (Amaury Van Trappen, Alec Guillaume, Martin Segaert, Furio Baroncelli and Thalia Bellemans) entered the competition with their project called “Zero Gravity Bubbles”, in the context of long distance space flights and a manned mission to Mars. During their research, Prof. Joeri Denayer, Dr. Sander Jespers and Dr. Peter De Schepper of CHIS supported the team by optimizing their experimental set-up, by discussing diffusion and convection processes and by advising them on the measurements that needed to be performed. Needless to say, both CHIS and the Gravity Bubbles team are delighted that their cooperation resulted in the first place of the competition.

The students will have the chance to participate in a parabolic flight and to follow a workshop at the European Space Center. Student Amaury Van Trappen explains what they would like to achieve during the parabolic flight: “the goal of the experiments is to design an aquarium for long distance flights in space. In a first experiment we will determine the impact of gravity on diffusion and normal convection of oxygen in water. With a second experiment, we will analyze gasses in fluids with different gravitational accelerations. These will be compared to the simulations we made in collaboration with the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Our next step will be to determine the physiological impact of gravity on people, which will then be correlated to fish and algae. As a last experiment, we will define the gravity on a hydraulic, mechanic and electric level. All these experiments together will provide us with an answer to our main question.”