The ability to separate liquid and gas phases in the absence of a gravitational acceleration has proven a challenge to engineers since the inception of space exploration. Due to our singular experience with terrestrial systems, artificial body forces are often imparted in multiphase fluid systems aboard spacecraft to reproduce the buoyancy effect. This approach tends to be inefficient, adding complexity, resources, and failure modes. Ever present in multiphase phenomena, the forces of surface tension can be exploited to aid passive phase separations where performance characteristics are determined solely by geometric design and system wettability. Said systems may be readily designed as demonstrated herein where a regulated bubbly flow is drawn through an open triangular sectioned duct. The bubbles passively migrate toward the free surface where they coalesce and leave the flow. The tests clearly show container aspect ratios required for passive phase separations for various liquid and gas flow rates. Preliminary data are presented as regime maps demarking complete phase separation. Long duration microgravity experiments are performed aboard the International Space Station. Supplementary experiments are conducted using a drop tower.
Research Containing: Spacecraft
Space radiation doses in the anthropomorphous phantom in space experiment "Matryeshka-R" and spacesuit "Orlan-M" during extravehicular activity
Russian space experiment "Matryeshka-R" was conducted in 2004-2005 to study dose distribution in the body of anthropomorphous phantom inserted in a spacesuit imitating container mounted on outer surface of the ISS Service module (experiment "Matryeshka"). The objective was to compare doses inside the phantom in the container to human body donned in spacesuit "Orlan-M" during extravehicular activity (EVA). The shielding function was calculated using the geometric model, specification of the phantom shielded by the container, "Orlan-M" description, and results of ground-based estimation of shielding effectiveness by gamma-raying. Doses were calculated from the dose attenuation curves obtained for galactic cosmic rays, and the AE-8/AP-8 models of electron and proton flows in Earth's radiation belt. Calculated ratios of equivalent doses in representative points of the body critical organs to analogous doses in phantom "Matryeshka" H(ORLAN-M)/H(Matryeshka) for identical radiation conditions vary with organs and solar activity in the range from 0.1 to 1.8 with organs and solar activity. These observations should be taken into account when applying Matryeshka data to the EVA conditions.
Results of measuring neutron dose inside the Russian segment of the International Space Station using bubble detectors in experiment Matreshka-R
Distribution of neutron equivalent dose both inside and outside the spherical phantom (experiment Matryeshka-R) was determined with the help of dedicated research equipment "Bubble-dosimeter". Equipment is built up from an automatic bubbles counter and 8 bubble detectors of neutrons with energy ranging from approximately 200 keV to 15 MeV. Measurements inside the ISS were made in several 7-day sessions in the period from April 2006 till October 2007 (ISS increments 13-15). According to the bubble detectors on the outside of the phantom, ambient neutron dose H*(10) was equal to 0.1 mSv/d or approximately 20% of the dose from charged particles inside the ISS. In the tissue-equivalent phantom, neutron dose was 1.2 +/- 0.2 times less as compared with the phantom surface which characterized the degree of dose attenuation in cosmonaut's body.
Leak rate performance of three silicone elastomer compounds after ground-simulated and on-orbit environment exposures
Three silicone elastomer compounds were evaluated to determine the effect of exposure to a spacecraft’s external environment and of exposure to atomic oxygen in terrestrial facilities. Air leak rate was used as the metric to quantify the degradation that occurred on S0383-70, S0899-50, and XELA-SA-401 elastomers formed into O-rings. Specimens were positioned external to the International Space Station (ISS) for 18 months aboard MISSE-6 where they were exposed to atomic oxygen, ultraviolet and particle radiation, vacuum pressure, and temperature fluctuations. The flight specimens were separated into two groups and positioned in ram-facing and in wake-facing directions, where the atomic oxygen fluence was 1.2×1022 and 6.0×1020 atoms/in2, respectively. Select specimens were pretreated with atomic oxygen generated by introducing air to radio frequency plasma. Yet another set of specimens was reserved as a control group to which the other were compared. The leak rates of the specimens were determined using a mass-point leak rate technique with uncertainty analysis and showed that the performances of the three elastomers degraded at different rates. The leak rate of XELA-SA-401 was eliminated from the study due to its poor relative flight performance. The ratio of the ram-facing to wake-facing leak rate was 1.2 and 2.9 for the S0383-70 and S0899-50 compounds, respectively, indicating the former compound was not appreciable affected by atomic oxygen while the later was. After receiving atomic oxygen fluency of 1.2×1022 atoms/in2 during flight, the leak rate of the S0899-50 was 5 times that of the S0383-70 specimens; however, the leak rate of the S0383-70.
This paper summarizes the first results from isolated droplet combustion experiments performed on the International Space Station (ISS). The long durations of microgravity provided in the ISS enable the measurement of droplet and flame histories over an unprecedented range of conditions. The first experiments were with heptane and methanol as fuels, initial droplet droplet diameters between 1.5 and 5.0 m m, ambient oxygen mole fractions between 0.1 and 0.4, ambient pressures between 0.7 and 3.0 a t m and ambient environments containing oxygen and nitrogen diluted with both carbon dioxide and helium. The experiments show both radiative and diffusive extinction. For both fuels, the flames exhibited pre-extinction flame oscillations during radiative extinction with a frequency of approximately 1 H z. The results revealed that as the ambient oxygen mole fraction was reduced, the diffusive-extinction droplet diameter increased and the radiative-extinction droplet diameter decreased. In between these two limiting extinction conditions, quasi-steady combustion was observed. Another important measurement that is related to spacecraft fire safety is the limiting oxygen index (LOI), the oxygen concentration below which quasi-steady combustion cannot be supported. This is also the ambient oxygen mole fraction for which the radiative and diffusive extinction diameters become equal. For oxygen/nitrogen mixtures, the LOI is 0.12 and 0.15 for methanol and heptane, respectively. The LOI increases to approximately 0.14 (0.14 O 2/0.56 N 2/0.30 C O 2) and 0.17 (0.17 O 2/0.63 N 2/0.20 C O 2) for methanol and heptane, respectively, for ambient environments that simulated dispersing an inert-gas suppressant (carbon dioxide) into a nominally air (1.0 a t m) ambient environment. The LOI is approximately 0.14 and 0.15 for methanol and heptane, respectively, when helium is dispersed into air at 1 atm. The experiments also showed unique burning behavior for large heptane droplets. After the visible hot flame radiatively extinguished around a large heptane droplet, the droplet continued to burn with a cool flame. This phenomena was observed repeatably over a wide range of ambient conditions. These cool flames were invisible to the experiment imaging system but their behavior was inferred by the sustained quasi-steady burning after visible flame extinction. Verification of this new burning regime was established by both theoretical and numerical analysis of the experimental results. These innovative experiments have provided a wealth of new data for improving the understanding of droplet combustion and related aspects of fire safety, as well as offering important measurements that can be used to test sophisticated evolving computational models and theories of droplet combustion.
Smoke particle size measurements were obtained under low-gravity conditions by overheating several materials typical of those found in spacecraft. The measurements included integral measurements of the smoke particles and physical sample of the particles for Transmission Electron Microscope analysis. The integral moments were combined to obtain geometric mean particle sizes and geometric standard deviations. These results are presented with the details of the instrument calibrations. The experimental results show that, for the materials tested, a substantial portion of the smoke particles are below 500 nm in diameter.
Austrian dose measurements onboard space station MIR and the International Space Station – overview and comparison
The Atominstitute of the Austrian Universities has conducted various space research missions in the last 12 years in cooperation with the Institute for Biomedical Problems in Moscow. They dealt with the exact determination of the radiation hazards for cosmonauts and the development of precise measurement devices. Special emphasis will be laid on the last experiment on space station MIR the goal of which was the determination of the depth distribution of absorbed dose and dose equivalent in a water filled Phantom. The first results from dose measurements onboard the International Space Station (ISS) will also be discussed. The spherical Phantom with a diameter of 35 cm was developed at the Institute for Biomedical Problems and had 4 channels where dosemeters can be exposed in different depths. The exposure period covered the timeframe from May 1997 to February 1999. Thermoluminescent dosemeters (TLDs) were exposed inside the Phantom, either parallel or perpendicular to the hull of the spacecraft. For the evaluation of the linear energy transfer (LET), the high temperature ratio (HTR) method was applied. Based on this method a mean quality factor and, subsequently, the dose equivalent is calculated according to the Q(LET∞) relationship proposed in ICRP 26. An increased contribution of neutrons could be detected inside the Phantom. However the total dose equivalent did not increase over the depth of the Phantom. As the first Austrian measurements on the ISS dosemeter packages were exposed for 248 days, starting in February 2001 at six different locations onboard the ISS. The Austrian dosemeter sets for this first exposure on the ISS contained five different kinds of passive thermoluminescent dosemeters. First results showed a position dependent absorbed dose rate at the ISS.
To estimate the radiation risk of astronauts during space missions, it is necessary to measure dose characteristics in various compartments of the spacecraft; this knowledge can be further used for estimating the health hazard in planned missions. This contribution presents results obtained during several missions on board the International Space Station (ISS) during 2005-09. A combination of thermoluminescent and plastic nuclear track detectors was used to measure the absorbed dose and dose equivalent. These passive detectors have several advantages, especially small dimensions, which enabled their placement at various locations in different compartments inside the ISS or inside the phantom. Variation of dosimetric quantities with the phase of the solar cycle and the position inside the ISS is discussed.
The ability to predict the atomic oxygen erosion yield of polymers based on their chemistry and physical properties has been only partially successful because of a lack of reliable low Earth orbit (LEO) erosion yield data. Unfortunately, many of the early experiments did not utilize dehydrated mass loss measurements for erosion yield determination, and the resulting mass loss due to atomic oxygen exposure may have been compromised because samples were often not in consistent states of dehydration during the pre-flight and post-flight mass measurements. This is a particular problem for short duration mission exposures or low erosion yield materials. However, as a result of the retrieval of the Polymer Erosion and Contamination Experiment (PEACE) flown as part of the Materials International Space Station Experiment 2 (MISSE 2), the erosion yields of 38 polymers and pyrolytic graphite were accurately measured. The experiment was exposed to the LEO environment for 3.95 years from August 16, 2001 to July 30, 2005 and was successfully retrieved during a space walk on July 30, 2005 during Discovery’s STS-114 Return to Flight mission. The 40 different materials tested (including Kapton H fluence witness samples) were selected specifically to represent a variety of polymers used in space as well as a wide variety of polymer chemical structures. The MISSE 2 PEACE Polymers experiment used carefully dehydrated mass measurements, as well as accurate density measurements to obtain accurate erosion yield data for high-fluence (8.43× 10 21 atoms/cm2). The resulting data was used to develop an erosion yield predictive tool with a correlation coefficient of 0.895 and uncertainty of ±6.3 × 10 –25 cm3/atom. The predictive tool utilizes the chemical structures and physical properties of polymers to predict in-space atomic oxygen erosion yields. A predictive tool concept (September 2009 version) is presented which represents an improvement over an earlier (December 2008) version.
There have been five Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE) passive experiment carriers (PECs) (MISSE 1-5) to date that have been launched, exposed in space on the exterior of International Space Station (ISS) and then returned to Earth for analysis. An additional four MISSE PECs (MISSE 6A, 6B, 7A, and 7B) are in various stages of completion. The PECs are two-sided suitcase to size sample carriers that are intended to provide information on the effects of the low Earth orbital environment on a wide variety of materials and components. As a result of post retrieval analyses of the retrieved MISSE 2 experiments and numerous prior space experiments, there have been valuable lessons learned and needs identified that are worthy of being documented so that planning, design, and analysis of future space environment experiments can benefit from the experience in order to maximize the knowledge gained. Some of the lessons learned involve the techniques, concepts, and issues associated with measuring atomic oxygen erosion yields. These are presented along with several issues to be considered when designing experiments, such as the uncertainty in mission duration, scattering and contamination effects on results, and the accuracy of measuring atomic oxygen erosion.