Date of Award

5-2021

Embargo Period

6-16-2021

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Department

Mechanical Engineering

Committee Chair

Eduardo Divo, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Hugo Castillo, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Karen F. Gaines, Ph.D.

Third Committee Member

Fardin Khalili, Ph.D.

Abstract

Understanding the impacts of microgravity on bacteria is vital for successful long duration space missions. In this environment, bacteria have been shown to become more virulent, more resistant to antibiotics and form more biofilms. To learn more about these phenomena, many experiments must be sent to the International Space Station, which is cost- and time prohibitive. Instead, the use of ground-based analogs is advantageous to define preliminary results that can later be verified with a space-based experiment. This research explored the development of an innovative 2D clinostat for simulating microgravity using bacteria. Computational fluid dynamics, standards established by previous literature and biological test methods were utilized to validate the system’s functionality. More specifically, biological validation consisted of optical density, biofilm analysis and gene regulation. Additionally, prototype vessels were created to utilize aerobic bacteria on future clinostat experiments.

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