The university recently secured $1.8 million in grants from the National Science Foundation and the Murdock Charitable Trust for what has tentatively been dubbed the Subzero Research Facility, a one-of-a-kind group of eight cold-research laboratories that has received support from scientists around the globe.
"I don't know of anything quite like this in the world," said MSU civil engineering professor Ed Adams. "The Japanese have some excellent facilities, including one very large cold chamber. The U.S. military has some excellent low-temperature wind chambers. However, this facility will be unique in that it will bring so many things together."
Adams, an internationally recognized avalanche and ice expert, along with MSU polar biologist John Priscu wrote the grant proposals that will fund the project.
The facility's eight rooms will be its main instruments, allowing researchers to precisely control humidity, light and temperature. The coldest room of the group will drop to minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The facility will be housed in 2,700 square feet on the first floor of Cobleigh Hall in MSU's College of Engineering. Adams and Priscu are hoping the labs will be up and running within a year.
Currently, research requiring cold rooms is scattered around MSU's campus in small and sometimes, ad-hoc laboratories. Priscu, known internationally for his work on microbes in Antarctic ice, has built his own sterile room for analyzing ice frozen for 500,000 years and cored from an ice field 2.5 miles deep.
"This is super-pure ice," Priscu said. "It contains about 10 cells per liter. An average liter of sea water contains more than one million cells."
However, Priscu is unable to cool his sterile room, which can reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. His storage facility for holding ice cores is crowded and it can take hours to retrieve a single sample.
The Subzero Research Facility will include ample storage space and a refrigerated class 100 clean room. A class 100 clean room - the highest commercially available - contains no more than 100 microscopic particles per cubic foot of air. An average office contains 500,000 to 1,000,000 particles per cubic foot.
The facility will also house a cold observation lab, where students can watch sub-zero experiments through windows while still in the comfort of room temperature. In a structural lab various materials - such as highway concrete - will be stressed under cold temperatures. A wet lab where running water can be observed as it freezes will help researchers study rivers, lakes, wetlands and other bodies of water.
When Priscu and Adams started work on their grant proposals, they were looking at their own research needs. But as the process evolved they realized they could create a facility for researchers across MSU and the globe.
They received letters of support from cold-research labs in Switzerland, Japan and two of the most prominent ones in the United States: the Byrd Polar Research Center in Ohio and the National Ice Core Laboratory in Denver. Neither of the U.S. facilities approximates the MSU project. More than a dozen MSU faculty members from various disciplines also supported the project.
Adams and Priscu hope the facility will be used by researchers looking at everything from frozen wetlands, to road de-icing, to the durability of electronics in icy temperatures.
"It turned out it was easier to write the grants because we were proposing bringing a lot of different people and disciplines together in one spot," Adams said. "I think we'll garner even more interest and research dollars working with people on campus and around the world once they see what we can do here."
Priscu is as optimistic: " I think this could alter the course of research on this campus," he said. "This is something for the whole university."
Contact: Ed Adams, (406) 994-6122 or email@example.com; John Priscu, (406) 994-3250 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor Ed Adams | EurekAlert!
Hidden river once flowed beneath Antarctic ice
22.08.2017 | Rice University
Greenland ice flow likely to speed up: New data assert glaciers move over sediment, which gets more slippery as it gets wetter
17.08.2017 | Swansea University
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
23.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
23.08.2017 | Automotive Engineering
23.08.2017 | Life Sciences