Tutorial: Heat Experiments

The Quest For Space Heat Starter Kit provides you an opportunity to explore the science of heating and cooling by building and programming three different experiments in radiation, convection, and conduction. You will build and customiize the hardware for each experiment using heating bulbs and resistors, temperature sensors, various mounts, wires and screws. After the mechanical assembly, you will spend time programming and customizing in the Arduino environment and C programming language to your experiment and collect data automatically. Finally, you will analyze the data to determine how different types of heat transfer affect heating and cooling behavior.

Pages

Getting Started

Hardware List

Your Starter Kit includes the following items:

Base Plates
Heating/Cooling Elements Sensors/Cables
Arduino/Shield Power Supply/Screwdriver/USB Cable
Item# Qty Description Radiation Experiment Convection Experiment Conduction Experiment
1 2 #2-56 x 1/2" screws (for fans) Y Y Y
2 18 #4-40 x 3/8" screws (for sensor u-bracket, socket to stand, sensors, base rubber feet) Y Y Y
3 5 #4-40 x 5/8" screws (for shield to base, socket stand to base) Y Y Y
4 1 Black acrylic base plate (top) Y Y Y
5 1 Black acrylic base plate (middle) Y Y Y
6 1 Black acrylic base plate (bottom) Y Y Y
7 2 Black acrylic sensor sliding plates (middle) Y Y Y
8 4 Base plate rubber feet Y Y Y
9 1 Socket (for bulb or resistor) Y Y Y
10 1 Socket stand Y Y Y
11 1 Halogen bulb Y
12 1 Ceramic resistor Y Y
13 1 Clamp (for conduction experiment to clamp metal wire to resistor) Y
14 1 Rubber pad (for conduction experiment to clamp metal wire to resistor) Y
15 1 Copper wire (for conduction experiment) Y
16 1 Brass wire (for conduction experiment) Y
17 1 Stainless steel wire (for conduction experiment) Y
18 2 Temperature sensors for radiation or convection experiments. Y Y
19 2 Black acrylic spacers for mounting sensors Y Y
20 1 U-shaped mounting bracket (3-pieces) Y Y
21 2 Temperature sensors for conduction experiment. Y
22 2 Black and white circular stickers Y
23 1 Cooling fan Y Y Y
24 2 Sensor cables Y Y Y
25 1 Arduino/Genuino Board Y Y Y
26 1 Quest Experiment Shield Y Y Y
27 3 White plastic spacers (to separate Arduino from Quest Shield) Y Y Y
28 1 Screwdriver Y Y Y
29 1 USB cable Y Y Y
30 1 12V DC power supply Y Y Y

Hardware Preparation

You will now setup the hardware in preparation to run any of the three experiments.

Base Plate Exploded View Base Plate Assembled
Base Plate Spacers
Base Plate Arduino

  1. Base Plate Assembly

    Assemble the 3 black acrylic plates, along with the sensor sliding plates in the middle plate. Be sure to put them in the right order. The top plate has the 2 fan holes, the middle plate has a long elliptical hole, the bottom plate does not have any big holes. Additionally, the black square sliding plates should fit snugly in the middle plate's rectangular cutout. Use four #4-40 x 3/8" screws to keep the plates togther by screwing through the rubber feet through the holes in the bottom side of the bottom black acrylic plate.

  2. Base Plate

    The assembled base plate should look like this.

  3. White Spacers

    Place the 3 white spacers on the baseplate on top of the 3 holes.

  4. Arduino

    Attach the Arduino to the baseplate, using the 3 long, thick #4-40 x 5/8" screws, going down through the 3 holes in the Arduino board through the white spacers and into the base plate holes.

Quest Shield Quest Shield Mounted
Socket Stand Parts Socket Stand Mounted

  1. Mount Quest Shield

    Insert the Quest Shield carefully into the Arduino. Make sure the right-most pins align with the rightmost holes in the black headers and that the power plugs are on the same side (left in the picture).

  2. Quest Shield Completely Mounted

    After inserting the Quest Shield, your board should look like this.

  3. Socket Stand

    The grey socket stand holds the socket and 2 long #4-40 x 5/8" screws are used to secure the stand. The screws are screwed in from underneath the base plates, up through the base plates, and into the socket stand.

  4. Socket Stand Mounted

    The socket stand securely screwed on, looks like this.

Socket Parts Socket Mounted
Socket Wires

  1. Mount Socket

    The white socket holds the heating elements and uses 2 #4-40 x 3/8" screws to attach to the grey socket stand.

  2. Socket Mounted

    After screwing in the white socket, your board should look like this.

  3. Connect Socket Wires

    The 2 white wires from the socket connect to the green terminal screws labeled "Heater." Use a screwdriver to first loosen the clamps, stick the wires in, then tighten the screws again.

Fan Parts Fan Mounted
Cables Connected Cables Completed

  1. Mount Fan

    The fan is mounted over the hole behind the grey socket stand. Use the 2 thin, long #2-56 x 3/8" screws to attach the fan to the base plate.

  2. Fan Mounted

    The mounted fan will look like this.

  3. Connect Wires

    Connect the 2 sensor cables into the Sensor A and B ports. The other end will be unattached for now until you select sensors for a particular experiment. Connect the fan cable into the Fan port.

  4. Board Ready

    When you have completed the above steps, your board will look like this.


Arduino IDE Setup

The Arduino IDE (Integrated Development Environment) is a GUI program that allows you to program the Starter Kit computer, which is an Arduino/Genuino board. This is how you program the logic for your experiment.


Install the Arduino IDE

Download the correct installation file for your operating system (Windows, Mac, or Linux) for your computer, and install the Arduino IDE.

Download the Arduino IDE

Download the Quest Experiment Code

Quest provides you with libraries to program the Starter Kit, as well as example code for each experiment. Download the file and unzip this in a directory on your computer.

Download the Quest Heat Experiment Code

The download file, Quest-SK-Heat-1.0.zip, includes the following files:

Quest-SK-Heat-1.0.zip contents


Start the Arduino IDE

Start up the Arduino IDE and we will add the Quest libraries to your Arduino Environment. The Arduino IDE can be started from your Start menu or from the desktop icon created during the installation process.

Arduino IDE main screen


Add the Quest Experiment Libraries

In the IDE, use the "Add ZIP library" menu to install the supplied library files in Quest-SK-Heat-1.0.zip.

IDE Add Library

Add each of the included .zip files, one at a time:

  • SD.zip
  • SlowSoftI2CMaster.zip
  • StarterKitCOntrol.zip
  • Streaming.zip
  • TimerOne.zip

Experiment 1: Radiation

In the radiation experiment, you will investigate how the color of an object affects how quickly it absorbs heat, as well as how quickly it radiates heat or cools.

You will program the Quest Starter Kit to turn on the halogen light bulb to heat up two temperature sensors, one covered with a black sticker, one with a white sticker, while measuring the temperatures to observe heating rates. The light bulb will then be turned off and temperatures will continue to be collected to observe cooling rates.


Hardware Setup

Make sure the hardware is prepared as specified in Getting Started: Hardware Preparation.

Exp1 Setup

Setup the hardware for Experiment 1:

  1. Halogen Bulb -- insert the bulb into the socket.
  2. Radiation-Convection Sensors
    1. Mount the two radiation-convection sensors (not the conduction ones) on the base plate.
    2. Put a black circle sticker on one sensor and a white circle sticker on the other sensor.
    3. Connect the sensor cables (from the Sensor A and B ports) to your sensors.
  3. Plug in the 12V Power Supply into the Quest board
  4. Connect your computer to the Arduino’s USB port

Experiment Code

We will now program the Starter Kit to run Experiment 1. In this experiment, we want to turn on the halogen bulb for a certain amount of time while collecting the temperatures from the 2 temperature sensors to observe how fast they heat up (one sensor is covered with a black sticker, the other with a white sticker). Then we will turn off the bulb and continue to collect temperature data, so we can see how fast they cool. In programming lingo, the algorithm or logic or pseudo-code might look like this for our experiment:

  • Begin program.
  • Start collecting temperature data (once per second).
  • Turn on halogen bulb for 120 seconds.
  • Turn off halogen bulb for 120 seconds.
  • Stop collecting data.
  • Write data to file.
  • Finish program.

With this in mind, let's go the Arduino IDE and start in on the programming.


Open Experiment Code Template

From the Arduino IDE, select the File > Open menu and open the StarterKit-Base_v1-0.ino file that was included in the Quest-SK-Heat-1.0.zip file:

Experiment 1 Code

The StarterKit-Base_v1-0.ino file is a template for all of the experiments and contains example commands to turn on/off the heating element plugged into the Socket, turn on/off the fan, wait a specified amount of time, and to start/stop the experiment.


Modify the Code

Modify your template to match the following Experiment 1 Code and save this to a new filename with the menu, File>Save As:

#include <StarterKitControl.h>

volatile bool StarterKitControl::IRQ_Flag;
StarterKitControl experiment;

void setup() 
{
  //Initialize the hardware and start collecting/sending data to the terminal
  experiment.InitPlatform();

  //wait for the start button to be pressed
  //Sensor data is displayed while we wait
  while( ! experiment.StartButton() )
  {;}

  //Start collecting data and save it to the SD card
  experiment.StartExperiment();

  //Turn on the heat source
  experiment.HeaterOn();

  //collect data while we wait
  experiment.delay_sec(120);

  //Turn off the heat source
  experiment.HeaterOff();

  //Turn on the Fan 
  //experiment.FanOn();
  //collect data while we wait
  //experiment.delay_sec(120);
  //Turn off the Fan 
  //experiment.FanOff();

  //collect data while we wait
  experiment.delay_sec(120);

  //Stop data collection and wait to be shutdown
  experiment.EndExperiment();   
}

//Nothing repeats, so there is no need to use the loop function
void loop() 
{

}

Code Explanation

If this is your first time programming in the Arduino IDE, the language is a slight variation of the C programming language with support for programming the Arduino easily.

Let's go through the code:

  • The beginning of the program will always be the same and doesn't need to be modified. It includes the Quest Library code and declares a variable we need.
    
    #include 
    
    volatile bool StarterKitControl::IRQ_Flag;
    StarterKitControl experiment;
                
  • All the logic for the experiment happens in the setup() function. We start with:
    
    void setup() 
    {
      //Initialize the hardware and start collecting/sending data to the terminal
      experiment.InitPlatform();
                
    which starts our program and starts collecting data from the two temperature sensors.

  • Next, we turn on the Halogen bulb
      experiment.HeaterOn();
  • We want the bulb to be on for 120 seconds, while we collect data from the temperature sensors to see which one (black or white) heats up faster.:
      experiment.delay_sec(120);
  • After 120 seconds, we turn off the bulb:
      experiment.HeaterOff();
  • We want to wait another 120 seconds, while we cool and continue to collect temperature data to see which sensor (black or white) cools faster:
      experiment.delay_sec(120);
  • Finally, we stop data collection and end the program:
      experiment.EndExperiment();   
    } 

Notice how the actual program follows the algorithm or logic we defined at the beginning of this section.


Running the Experiment


Check Hardware Setup

Make sure your Starter Kit hardware is prepared, as specified in Hardware Setup, and that your Starter Kit is connected to your computer with the supplied USB cable and powered on.


Select the "Arduino/Genuino Uno" Board

Use the menu, Tools > Board, and select "Arduino/Genuino Uno."

IDE Select Board


Select the COM Port

Select the COM port for the USB port connecting your computer to the Starter Kit.

IDE Select COM Port


Show the Serial Monitor

Select the menu, Tools > Serial Monitor:

IDE Serial Monitor Menu

which will show a debug window that will show the temperature readings and error messages:

IDE Serial Monitor Window


Compile and Upload your Code

Use the menu, Sketch > Upload, to compile, upload and run your program:

IDE Upload

Status and error messages will be printed in the window pane at the bottom of the IDE. A successful upload will look like this:

IDE Upload Complete

and your Serial Monitor window will now show which log file on the SD card will have a copy of the data, the current temperature readings of the two sensors, and prompting you to hit the Start button to start the Experiment:

IDE Serial Monitor Window


Run the Experiment

On the Starter Kit, press the Start button. The light bulb should turn on for 120 seconds, then turn off for 120 seconds, then finish. You will see temperature readings printed to the Serial Monitor window every second:

IDE Serial Monitor Start

The experiment will complete in about four minutes.


Analyzing the Data

Serial Monitor Window

You can do a quick check of the data in the Serial Monitor window:

IDE Serial Monitor Finish

Quest Portal

For better trending analysis, pull out the SD card and put it into your computer and upload the data to the Quest For Space Portal for analysis:

IDE Serial Monitor Finish


Questions

Answer the following questions based upon the temperature data from your results.

  • Which color sensor heated up faster? How can you tell from the data?
  • Which color sensor cooled down faster? How does the data support your answer?
  • Why did this occur?
  • Do you think the results will be different when run in space on the International Space Station?
  • What would happen if you changed the distinace of the sensors from the bulb? Try it.
  • What would happen if you used different colored stickers or paper? Try it.
  • What other changes could you make in the experiment that would give different results?

Experiment 2: Convection

In the convection experiment, you will investigate how the movement of air can transfer heat and affect heating or cooling.

You will program the Quest Starter Kit to turn on a ceramic resistor to heat up two temperature sensors (one above the resister and one below the resistor), while measuring the temperatures to observe heating rates. The resistor will then be turned off and temperatures will continue to be collected to observe cooling rates.


Hardware Setup

Make sure the hardware is prepared as specified in Getting Started: Hardware Preparation.

Exp2 Setup

Setup the hardware for Experiment 2:

  1. Ceramic Resistor -- insert the resistor into the socket.
  2. Radiation-Convection Sensors
    1. Assemble the right grey U-shape bracket on the black bracket. Make sure the 5 hole side of the grey L-bracket is over the 4 smaller holes of the black flat plate. Screw using 3 #4-40 x 3/8" screws from underneath the black flat plate into the grey L-bracket.
    2. Mount a radiation-convection sensor, spacer, onto the 4-hole side of the L-bracket and onto the sliding tile in the base plate. This is the bottom sensor.
    3. Assemble the other radiation-convection temperature sensor onto the remaining grey L-bracket. Make sure to use a spacer, and attach the sensor to the 5-hole side of the L-bracket. This will become the top sensor.
    4. Attach this new grey L-bracket to the black flat plate that was mounted in step 2b. The screws go through the grey L-bracket and down into the black plate. You should now have a U-bracket mounted on your base plate.
    5. Slide the bracket to the center so the sensors are directly above/below the resistor. Connect the sensor cables (from the Sensor A and B ports) to your sensors.
  3. Plug in the 12V Power Supply into the Quest board
  4. Connect your computer to the Arduino’s USB port

Experiment Code

We will now program the Starter Kit to run Experiment 2. In this experiment, we want to turn on a ceramic resistor for a certain amount of time while collecting the temperatures from the 2 temperature sensors to observe how fast they heat up (one sensor is above the resistor, the other sensor is below). Then we will turn off the resistor and continue to collect temperature data, so we can see how fast they cool. In programming lingo, the algorithm or logic or pseudo-code might look like this for our experiment:

  • Begin program.
  • Start collecting temperature data (once per second).
  • Turn on resistor for 120 seconds.
  • Turn off resistor for 120 seconds.
  • Stop collecting data.
  • Write data to file.
  • Finish program.

With this in mind, let's go the Arduino IDE and start in on the programming.


Open Experiment Code Template

From the Arduino IDE, select the File > Open menu and open the StarterKit-Base_v1-0.ino file that was included in the Quest-SK-Heat-1.0.zip file:

Experiment 2 Code

The StarterKit-Base_v1-0.ino file is a template for all of the experiments and contains example commands to turn on/off the heating element plugged into the Socket, turn on/off the fan, wait a specified amount of time, and to start/stop the experiment.


Modify the Code

Modify your template to match the following Experiment 2 Code and save this to a new filename with the menu, File>Save As:

#include <StarterKitControl.h>

volatile bool StarterKitControl::IRQ_Flag;
StarterKitControl experiment;

void setup() 
{
  //Initialize the hardware and start collecting/sending data to the terminal
  experiment.InitPlatform();

  //wait for the start button to be pressed
  //Sensor data is displayed while we wait
  while( ! experiment.StartButton() )
  {;}

  //Start collecting data and save it to the SD card
  experiment.StartExperiment();

  //Turn on the heat source
  experiment.HeaterOn();

  //collect data while we wait
  experiment.delay_sec(120);

  //Turn off the heat source
  experiment.HeaterOff();

  //Turn on the Fan 
  //experiment.FanOn();
  //collect data while we wait
  //experiment.delay_sec(120);
  //Turn off the Fan 
  //experiment.FanOff();

  //collect data while we wait
  experiment.delay_sec(120);

  //Stop data collection and wait to be shutdown
  experiment.EndExperiment();   
}

//Nothing repeats, so there is no need to use the loop function
void loop() 
{

}

Code Explanation

If this is your first time programming in the Arduino IDE, the language is a slight variation of the C programming language with support for programming the Arduino easily.

Let's go through the code:

  • The beginning of the program will always be the same and doesn't need to be modified. It includes the Quest Library code and declares a variable we need.
    
    #include 
    
    volatile bool StarterKitControl::IRQ_Flag;
    StarterKitControl experiment;
                
  • All the logic for the experiment happens in the setup() function. We start with:
    
    void setup() 
    {
      //Initialize the hardware and start collecting/sending data to the terminal
      experiment.InitPlatform();
                
    which starts our program and starts collecting data from the two temperature sensors.

  • Next, we turn on the Ceramic Resistor
      experiment.HeaterOn();
  • We want the resistor to be on for 120 seconds, while we collect data from the temperature sensors to see which one (top or bottom) heats up faster.:
      experiment.delay_sec(120);
  • After 120 seconds, we turn off the resistor:
      experiment.HeaterOff();
  • We want to wait another 120 seconds, while we cool and continue to collect temperature data to see which sensor (top or bottom) cools faster:
      experiment.delay_sec(120);
  • Finally, we stop data collection and end the program:
      experiment.EndExperiment();   
    } 

Notice how the actual program follows the algorithm or logic we defined at the beginning of this section.


Running the Experiment


Check Hardware Setup

Make sure your Starter Kit hardware is prepared, as specified in Hardware Setup, and that your Starter Kit is connected to your computer with the supplied USB cable and powered on.


Select the "Arduino/Genuino Uno" Board

Use the menu, Tools > Board, and select "Arduino/Genuino Uno."

IDE Select Board


Select the COM Port

Select the COM port for the USB port connecting your computer to the Starter Kit.

IDE Select COM Port


Show the Serial Monitor

Select the menu, Tools > Serial Monitor:

IDE Serial Monitor Menu

which will show a debug window that will show the temperature readings and error messages:

IDE Serial Monitor Window


Compile and Upload your Code

Use the menu, Sketch > Upload, to compile, upload and run your program:

IDE Upload

Status and error messages will be printed in the window pane at the bottom of the IDE. A successful upload will look like this:

IDE Upload Complete

and your Serial Monitor window will now show which log file on the SD card will have a copy of the data, the current temperature readings of the two sensors, and prompting you to hit the Start button to start the Experiment:

IDE Serial Monitor Window


Run the Experiment

On the Starter Kit, press the Start button. The ceramic resistor should turn on for 120 seconds, then turn off for 120 seconds, then finish. Since the resistor provides no visual indication that it is on, you can use an infrared thermometer gun to measure its temperature. You will also see temperature readings printed to the Serial Monitor window every second:

IDE Serial Monitor Start

The experiment will complete in about four minutes.


Analyzing the Data

Serial Monitor Window

You can do a quick check of the data in the Serial Monitor window:

IDE Serial Monitor Finish

Quest Portal

For better trending analysis, pull out the SD card and put it into your computer and upload the data to the Quest For Space Portal for analysis:

IDE Serial Monitor Finish


Questions

Answer the following questions based upon the temperature data from your results.

  • Which sensor (top or bottom) heated up faster? How can you tell from the data?
  • Which sensor (top or bottom) cooled down faster? How does the data support your answer?
  • Why did this happen?
  • Do you think the results will be different when run in space on the International Space Station?
  • What would happen if you used a fan during the cooling period? Try it.
  • What other changes could you make in the experiment that would give different results?

Experiment 3: Conduction

In the convection experiment, you will investigate how conduction of heat through different metals affects heating cooling rates.

You will program the Quest Starter Kit to turn on a ceramic resistor that are attached by two wires of different metals to two temperature sensors, while measuring the temperatures to observe heating rates. The resistor will then be turned off and temperatures will continue to be collected to observe what occurs.


Hardware Setup

Make sure the hardware is prepared as specified in Getting Started: Hardware Preparation.

Exp3 Setup

Setup the hardware for Experiment 3:

  1. Ceramic Resistor -- insert the resistor into the socket.
  2. Conduction Sensors
    1. Choose two of the three metal wires to use in the experiment. There is copper (brownish), brass (light/gold-yellow), and stainless steel (grey/silver).
    2. Attach the two wires to the two conduction sensors (not the radiation-convection ones) by screwing the circular connector rings of the wires to the middle of the sensors.
    3. Mount the two conduction sensors on the sliding tiles in the base plate.
    4. When finished, the sensors should slide on the tiles back and forth when the screws are slightly loose. The location of the sensors is not important for this experiment.
    5. Connect the sensor cables (from the Sensor A and B ports) to your sensors.
  3. Bend the wires and touch them on the long side of the resistor, then wrap the plastic, and clamp the metal wires to the resistor.
  4. Plug in the 12V Power Supply into the Quest board
  5. Connect your computer to the Arduino’s USB port

Experiment Code

We will now program the Starter Kit to run Experiment 3. In this experiment, we want to turn on a ceramic resistor for a certain amount of time while collecting the temperatures from the 2 temperature sensors to observe how fast they heat up. Then we will turn off the resistor and continue to collect temperature data, so we can see what occurs. In programming lingo, the algorithm or logic or pseudo-code might look like this for our experiment:

  • Begin program.
  • Start collecting temperature data (once per second).
  • Turn on resistor for 120 seconds.
  • Turn off resistor for 120 seconds.
  • Stop collecting data.
  • Write data to file.
  • Finish program.

With this in mind, let's go the Arduino IDE and start in on the programming.


Open Experiment Code Template

From the Arduino IDE, select the File > Open menu and open the StarterKit-Base_v1-0.ino file that was included in the Quest-SK-Heat-1.0.zip file:

Experiment 3 Code

The StarterKit-Base_v1-0.ino file is a template for all of the experiments and contains example commands to turn on/off the heating element plugged into the Socket, turn on/off the fan, wait a specified amount of time, and to start/stop the experiment.


Modify the Code

Modify your template to match the following Experiment 3 Code and save this to a new filename with the menu, File>Save As:

#include <StarterKitControl.h>

volatile bool StarterKitControl::IRQ_Flag;
StarterKitControl experiment;

void setup() 
{
  //Initialize the hardware and start collecting/sending data to the terminal
  experiment.InitPlatform();

  //wait for the start button to be pressed
  //Sensor data is displayed while we wait
  while( ! experiment.StartButton() )
  {;}

  //Start collecting data and save it to the SD card
  experiment.StartExperiment();

  //Turn on the heat source
  experiment.HeaterOn();

  //collect data while we wait
  experiment.delay_sec(120);

  //Turn off the heat source
  experiment.HeaterOff();

  //Turn on the Fan 
  //experiment.FanOn();
  //collect data while we wait
  //experiment.delay_sec(120);
  //Turn off the Fan 
  //experiment.FanOff();

  //collect data while we wait
  experiment.delay_sec(120);

  //Stop data collection and wait to be shutdown
  experiment.EndExperiment();   
}

//Nothing repeats, so there is no need to use the loop function
void loop() 
{

}

Code Explanation

If this is your first time programming in the Arduino IDE, the language is a slight variation of the C programming language with support for programming the Arduino easily.

Let's go through the code:

  • The beginning of the program will always be the same and doesn't need to be modified. It includes the Quest Library code and declares a variable we need.
    
    #include 
    
    volatile bool StarterKitControl::IRQ_Flag;
    StarterKitControl experiment;
                
  • All the logic for the experiment happens in the setup() function. We start with:
    
    void setup() 
    {
      //Initialize the hardware and start collecting/sending data to the terminal
      experiment.InitPlatform();
                
    which starts our program and starts collecting data from the two temperature sensors.

  • Next, we turn on the Ceramic Resistor
      experiment.HeaterOn();
  • We want the resistor to be on for 120 seconds, while we collect data from the temperature sensors to see which wire heats up faster.:
      experiment.delay_sec(120);
  • After 120 seconds, we turn off the resistor:
      experiment.HeaterOff();
  • We want to wait another 120 seconds, while we cool and continue to collect temperature data to see which wire cools faster:
      experiment.delay_sec(120);
  • Finally, we stop data collection and end the program:
      experiment.EndExperiment();   
    } 

Notice how the actual program follows the algorithm or logic we defined at the beginning of this section.


Running the Experiment


Check Hardware Setup

Make sure your Starter Kit hardware is prepared, as specified in Hardware Setup, and that your Starter Kit is connected to your computer with the supplied USB cable and powered on.


Select the "Arduino/Genuino Uno" Board

Use the menu, Tools > Board, and select "Arduino/Genuino Uno."

IDE Select Board


Select the COM Port

Select the COM port for the USB port connecting your computer to the Starter Kit.

IDE Select COM Port


Show the Serial Monitor

Select the menu, Tools > Serial Monitor:

IDE Serial Monitor Menu

which will show a debug window that will show the temperature readings and error messages:

IDE Serial Monitor Window


Compile and Upload your Code

Use the menu, Sketch > Upload, to compile, upload and run your program:

IDE Upload

Status and error messages will be printed in the window pane at the bottom of the IDE. A successful upload will look like this:

IDE Upload Complete

and your Serial Monitor window will now show which log file on the SD card will have a copy of the data, the current temperature readings of the two sensors, and prompting you to hit the Start button to start the Experiment:

IDE Serial Monitor Window


Run the Experiment

On the Starter Kit, press the Start button. The ceramic resistor should turn on for 120 seconds, then turn off for 120 seconds, then finish. Since the resistor provides no visual indication that it is on, you can use an infrared thermometer gun to measure its temperature. You will also see temperature readings printed to the Serial Monitor window every second:

IDE Serial Monitor Start

The experiment will complete in about four minutes.


Analyzing the Data

Serial Monitor Window

You can do a quick check of the data in the Serial Monitor window:

IDE Serial Monitor Finish

Quest Portal

For better trending analysis, pull out the SD card and put it into your computer and upload the data to the Quest For Space Portal for analysis:

IDE Serial Monitor Finish


Questions

Answer the following questions based upon the temperature data from your results.

  • Which wire heated up its sensor faster? How can you tell from the data?
  • What happens after the resistor is turned off? Did the sensors heat up or cool down or stay the same temperature during this period?
  • Do you think the results will be different when run in space on the International Space Station?
  • What do you think will happen when you use the third metal wire? Try it.
  • Rank the three wires in terms of which heats up or cools down faster. What does this tell you about the three materials?