Delta Will Conduct Microgravity Experiment to International Space Station to Help Improve Its Showerheads
How do you make showers better while using less water? You send the showers to space. Or, at least, the showerhead tech. That’s what Delta Faucet will do this fall in partnership with the Center for Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS).
Delta Faucet is sending a microgravity experiment to the International Space Station (ISS) to learn how gravity affects water droplet formation, as well as how it affects water flow and water pressure.
“The results of this investigation will be incredibly important to our future work at Delta Faucet,” said Paul Patton, senior manager of innovation and regulatory for Delta Faucet Company, in a news release. “The potential to expand our knowledge of how water droplets are formed, and potentially enhance everyday experiences in the shower, will increase the boundaries of our technology and the impact we can make for consumers.”
According to CASIS, the nonprofit organization that manages the International Space Station U.S National Laboratory, “the study will evaluate how best to control the output of water droplets to create a better performing shower device that provides an improved experience for the end user while also conserving water and energy.”
Using its H2OKinetic Technology — which employs a fluidic chip that oscillates to create bigger water droplets “for the feeling of more water,” when, in fact, less water is used than a standard showerhead — the test on the ISS will take less than a day and will be replicated on Earth to compare results. The microgravity test will launch from Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia as early as November 2018.
Delta says it learned about CASIS and opportunities for research on the space station through another Indiana-based company, Eli Lilly, which has sent multiple tests to the ISS. After speaking with CASIS, Delta identified the right product opportunity and moved forward with a partnership to research water droplet formation in hopes of enhancing H2Okinetic Technology.
It’s unlikely Delta or any other company would be able to afford to conduct the space experiment on its own, making this a unique opportunity, said Garry Marty, a principal product engineer at Delta Faucet, at the International Space Station Research & Development conference in San Francisco in late July. Marty says that CASIS, Delta and one other company pitched in to help fund the test.
So, life is not the space odyssey that Bowie imagined and maybe we don’t have flying cars like we expected from The Jetsons, but perhaps we’ll soon be showering with space-age showerheads for a better showering experience — all with a lot less water.
To hear more about Delta’s test on the ISS, check out this video of Marty introducing the test, along with Blair Bigelow, co-founder, Vice President of Corporate Strategy, Bigelow Space Operations; and Goodyear Tire’s Manager of External Science and Technology, Derek Shuttleworth.
Patricia L. Garcia is an award-winning freelance journalist who has written for NewHomeSource, the Associated Press, New Mexico magazine and the Texas Bar Journal. When not writing, she can be found in the garden, battling weeds and high-desert heat.