Geometry Pumping on Spacecraft (The CFE-Vane Gap Experiments on ISS)
Weislogel MM, et al. (2008). "Geometry Pumping on Spacecraft (The CFE-Vane Gap Experiments on ISS)." Microgravity Application 25 3: 4
urrent experiments aboard the International Space Station (ISS) illustrate an extent to which liquid behavior aboard spacecraft can be controlled by wetting and container geometry. The experiments are referred to as the 'Vane-Gap' experiments and are part of a more general set of simple handheld Capillary Flow Experiments1) (CFE) designed and developed at NASA's Glenn Research Center for conduct on ISS. The CFE-Vane Gap experiments highlight the sensitivity of a capillary fluid surface to container shape and how small changes to said shape may result in dramatic global shifts of the liquid within the container. Understanding such behaviors is central to the passive management of liquids aboard spacecraft and in certain cases permits us the ability to move (pump) large quantities (potentially tons) of liquid by a simple choice of container shape. In particular, the Vane-Gap experiments identify the critical geometric wetting conditions of a vane structure that does not quite meet the container wall-a construct arising in various fluid systems aboard spacecraft such as liquid fuel and cryogen storage tanks, thermal fluids management, and water processing equipment. In this paper experimental results are compared with preliminary theoretical and numerical analyses.