Postflight summary of the Capillary Flow Experiments aboard the International Space Station
Weislogel MM, et al. (2008). "Postflight summary of the Capillary Flow Experiments aboard the International Space Station." 59th International Astronautical Congress
This paper provides a summary of the experimental, analytical, and numerical results of the Capillary Flow Experiment (CFE) performed onboard the International Space Station (ISS) from Increment 9 (beginning August, 2004) through Increment 16 (ending December, 2007), with 19 operations by 7 astronauts; M. Fincke, W. McGarthur, J. Williams, S. Williams, M. Lopez-Alegria, C. Anderson, and P. Whitson. CFE consists of 6 approximately 1 to 2kg experiment units designed to probe certain capillary phenomena of fundamental and applied importance, such as capillary flow in complex containers, critical wetting in discontinuous structures, and large length scale contact line dynamics. Highly quantitative video images from the simply performed flight experiments provide immediate confirmation of the usefulness of current analytical design tools as well as provide guidance to the development of new ones. A brief review of the experiments and procedures is provided before reporting the status of the data collection, reduction, and comparisons with both analytic and numerical predictions. The products of the work include design tools for modeling capillary interface dynamics relevant to spacecraft engineering systems. The CFE experimental program was initiated in February 2003 as part of a fast-paced unscheduled payloads/experiments program. All six of the units were performed on standby or at times as part of NASA Saturday Science and all units have been returned to Earth for post flight analysis. The experiments were conducted in stand-alone mode by a single crewmember on the Maintenance Work Area of the ISS.