We examine the dynamics of a binary mixture in a cubic cell subjected to a temperature differential and oscillatory forcing. The Soret effect, which is negative in the present study, provides a coupling mechanism by which a temperature gradient establishes a concentration gradient in a mixture. We present the results of experiments that were performed on the International Space Station (ISS) and compare the observations with the results of direct numerical simulations. The evolution of temperature and concentration fields is investigated by optical digital interferometry. One advantage of the experimental technique is the observation of the fields along two perpendicular directions of the cell, allowing us to restore the three-dimensional field. Experimental evidence disproves speculations that the ISS microgravity environment always affects diffusion-controlled processes. Furthermore, we demonstrate that imposed vibrations with constant frequency and amplitude create slow mean flows and that they do influence the diffusion kinetics. The perturbation of the diffusive fields scales as the square of the vibrational velocity. In addition to calculations of the full three-dimensional Navier–Stokes equations, a two-time-scale computational methodology is used for situations in which the forcing period is very small compared to the natural time scales of the problem. The simulations show excellent agreement with experimental observations.
Cerium oxide (CeO2) was prepared using a controlled-precipitation method under microgravity at the International Space Station (ISS). For comparison, ceria was also synthesized under normal-gravity conditions (referred as control). The Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) surface area, pore volume and pore size analysis results indicated that the ceria particles grown in space had lower surface area and pore volume compared to the control samples. Furthermore, the space samples had a broader pore size distribution ranging from 30–600 Å, whereas the control samples consisted of pore sizes from 30–50 Å range. Structural information of the ceria particles were obtained using TEM and XRD. Based on the TEM images, it was confirmed that the space samples were predominantly nano-rods, on the other hand, only nano-polyhedra particles were seen in the control ceria samples. The average particle size was larger for ceria samples synthesized in space. XRD results showed higher crystallinity as well as larger mean crystal size for the space samples. The effect of sodium hydroxide concentration on synthesis of ceria was also examined using 1 M and 3 M solutions. It was found that the control samples, prepared in 1 M and 3 M sodium hydroxide solutions, did not show a significant difference between the two. However, when the ceria samples were prepared in a more basic medium (3 M) under microgravity, a decrease in the particle size of the nano-rods and appearances of nano-polyhedra and spheres were observed.
First Direct Observation of Impurity Effects on the Growth Rate of Tetragonal Lysozyme Crystals under Microgravity as Measured by Interferometry
The normal growth rates R and apparent step velocities (lateral growth rates of a spiral hillock) V of tetragonal hen egg-white lysozyme (HEWL) crystals were for the first time measured by Michelson interferometry in the international space station (as part of the NanoStep project) using commercialized HEWL samples containing 1.5% impurities. A significant increase in V under microgravity was confirmed compared to step velocities Vstep on the ground, while a decrease in R was also confirmed compared to that in the purified solution under microgravity as expected. Because of exact measurement of growth rates, kinetic analyses of R were conducted as a function of supersaturation, σ (σ ≡ ln(C/Ce), where C is the concentration; Ce is the solubility), using a spiral growth model and a two-dimensional (2D) nucleation growth model. For both models over a wide range of σ, R in the impure solution was significantly lower than that in the purified solution. The degree of the suppression of impurity effects was also evaluated using the difference in Vp and Vi, where Vp is the apparent step velocity in the purified solution, and Vi is that in the impure solution. The difference between Vp and Vi was smaller than the difference in step velocities on the ground, Vstep,p and Vstep,i, where Vstep,p is the step velocity in the purified solution, and Vstep,i is the step velocity in the impure solution.
Dust particles of micro-meter size are levitated around a sheath in discharges. Gravity pushes the dust particles from a bulk of plasma to the sheath on the ground. Microgravity conditions brought by sounding rockets, parabolic flights of aircract and the International Space Station allow the dust particles to suspend in the bulk of plasma. Many researches have required phenomena of the dust particles under microgravity to be understood with connected to plasma parameters. Here several examples estimating the plasma parameters of microgravity experiments were shown, and described as manners to elucidate the phenomena in dusty plasmas with the plasma parameters. A rough estimation of ion density was obtained in observing wave propagation, and spatial distribution of the dust particles changed by a discharge control was understood in measuring electron density.
Combustion of clear cast polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) samples 10 cm long by either 1 or 2 cm wide with thicknesses ranging from 1-5 mm was investigated in opposed flow. Tests included both one sided and two sided burns. The samples were burned in a flow duct within the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) on the International Space Station (ISS) to ensure true microgravity conditions. The experiment took place in opposed flow with a varying oxygen concentration (uncontrolled) and varying flow;velocities (controlled). Flames are recorded on two cameras and later tracked to determine spread rate.;Assuming a linear profile between oxygen concentration at the start and the end of each test we made graphs of oxygen concentration vs. time for each test. From these we created flammability maps showing the flame behavior at different oxygen concentrations and flow velocities. Additionally we have conducted an extinction analysis, plotting the oxygen concentration against the flow velocity at;the time of extinction with respect to type of test (one sided or two sided).;Currently we are modeling combustion of flat PMMA;samples in microgravity using Fire Dynamic Simulator (FDS 5.5.3). The entire modeling for BASS-II is done in DNS mode because of the laminar conditions and small domain. The model employs the same test sample and MSG geometry as the experiment. The model predicts a higher flame spread rate than that observed in experiments. So we look to modify the chemical kinetics and materials;properties to improve the model. Also we plan to do a domain study and grid sensitivity analysis in future.
We present a phase-field study of oscillatory breathing modes observed during the solidification of three-dimensional cellular arrays in microgravity. Directional solidification experiments conducted onboard the International Space Station have allowed us to observe spatially extended homogeneous arrays of cells and dendrites while minimizing the amount of gravity-induced convection in the liquid. In situ observations of transparent alloys have revealed the existence, over a narrow range of control parameters, of oscillations in cellular arrays with a period ranging from about 25 to 125 min. Cellular patterns are spatially disordered, and the oscillations of individual cells are spatiotemporally uncorrelated at long distance. However, in regions displaying short-range spatial ordering, groups of cells can synchronize into oscillatory breathing modes. Quantitative phase-field simulations show that the oscillatory behavior of cells in this regime is linked to a stability limit of the spacing in hexagonal cellular array structures. For relatively high cellular front undercooling (i.e., low growth velocity or high thermal gradient), a gap appears in the otherwise continuous range of stable array spacings. Close to this gap, a sustained oscillatory regime appears with a period that compares quantitatively well with experiment. For control parameters where this gap exists, oscillations typically occur for spacings at the edge of the gap. However, after a change of growth conditions, oscillations can also occur for nearby values of control parameters where this gap just closes and a continuous range of spacings exists. In addition, sustained oscillations at to the opening of this stable gap exhibit a slow periodic modulation of the phase-shift among cells with a slower period of several hours. While long-range coherence of breathing modes can be achieved in simulations for a perfect spatial arrangement of cells as initial condition, global disorder is observed in both three-dimensional experiments and simulations from realistic noisy initial conditions. In the latter case, erratic tip-splitting events promoted by large-amplitude oscillations contribute to maintaining the long-range array disorder, unlike in thin-sample experiments where long-range coherence of oscillations is experimentally observable.
Results from on-board CSA-CP and CDM Sensor Readings during the Burning and Suppression of Solids– II (BASS-II) Experiment in the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG)
For the first time on ISS, BASS-II utilized MSG working volume dilution with gaseous nitrogen (N2). We developed a perfectly stirred reactor model to determine the N2 flow time and flow rate to obtain the desired reduced oxygen concentration in the working volume for each test. We calibrated the model with CSA-CP oxygen readings offset using the Mass Constituents Analyzer reading of the ISS ambient atmosphere data for that day. This worked out extremely well for operations, and added a new vital variable, ambient oxygen level, to our test matrices. The main variables tested in BASS-II were ambient oxygen concentration, ventilation flow velocity, and fuel type, thickness, and geometry.;BASS-II also utilized the on-board CSA-CP for oxygen and carbon monoxide readings, and the CDM for carbon dioxide readings before and after each test. Readings from these sensors allow us to evaluate the completeness of the combustion. The oxygen and carbon dioxide readings before and after each test were analyzed and compared very well to stoichiometric ratios for a one step gas-phase reaction. The CO versus CO2 followed a linear trend for some datasets, but not for all the different geometries of fuel and flow tested. We calculated the heat release rates during each test from the oxygen consumption and burn times, using the constant 13.1 kJ of heat released per gram of oxygen consumed. The results showed that the majority of the tests had heat release rates well below 100 Watts. Lastly, the global equivalence ratio for the tests is estimated to be fuel rich: 1.3 on average using mass loss and oxygen consumption data.
This paper will explore the opportunities and challenges in developing the commercial market in LEO through the ISS program and all its facets, including operations, mission support activities, utilization, and contracting. The role of NASA-funded research in the vertical translation of basic research in space to practical application in the market or to other government service agencies will also be addressed. Other aspects, including government regulation, investment and tax incentives, and possible roles of various government agencies will also be explored. Of particular importance, the role of private industry, currently in the supply business, in the development of the demand for LEO capabilities and services beyond the federal government will be highlighted. In conclusion, this paper will address the prospects in reaching the goal of commercializing LEO starting from where we are today in human spaceflight and the International Space Station.
Reduced gravity combustion experiments were performed aboard the International Space Station with individual methanol and n-heptane droplets that had initial diameters in the 1.2-5.0 mm size range. Experiments were performed with air-inert mixtures at 0.1 and 0.07 MPa and about 298 K, where the monatomic gases helium and xenon were separately used as the added inert. These two gases have the same thermodynamic properties on a molar basis, but their transport properties are significantly different, allowing investigation of transport property effects such as Lewis number variations on combustion phenomena. The results indicate that ambient gas transport properties play an important role in determining limiting oxygen indices as well as burning rates and radiant heat output histories of flames. However, comparison with drop tower data suggests that initial droplet diameters may not play a significant role in determining limiting oxygen index values.
Effects of cooling temperature on heat pipe evaporator performance using an ideal fluid mixture in microgravity
The effect of cooling temperature on heat pipe performance has generally received little consideration. In this paper, we studied the performance of a Constrained Vapor Bubble (CVB) heat pipe using a liquid mix- ture of 94 vol%-pentane and 6 vol%-isohexane at different cooling temperatures in the microgravity envi- ronment of the International Space Station (ISS). Using a one-dimensional (1-D) heat transfer model developed in our laboratory, the heat transfer coefficient of the evaporator section was calculated and shown to decrease with increasing cooler temperature. Interestingly, the decreasing trend was not the same across the cooler settings studied in the paper. This trend corresponded with the change in the tem- perature profile along the cuvette. When the cooling temperature went from 0 to 20 C, the temperature of the cuvette decreased monotonically from the heater end to the cooler end and the heat transfer coef- ficient decreased slowly from 456 to 401 (W m 2 K 1) (at a rate of 2.75 W m 2 K 2). However, when the cooling temperature increased from 25 to 35 C, a minimum point formed in the temperature profile, and the heat transfer coefficient dramatically decreased from 355 to 236 (W m 2 K 1) (at a rate of 11.9 W m 2 K 2). A similar change in decreasing trend was observed in the pressure gradient and liquid velocity profile. The reduced heat pipe performance at high cooling temperatures was consistent with the reduced evaporation which was indicated by the decreasing internal heat transfer and the increasing liq- uid film thickness along the cuvette as seen in the surveillance images. The result obtained is important for future heat pipe design because we now have a better understanding of the working temperature ranges of these devices.