As a part of the NASA BASS and BASS-II experimental projects aboard the International Space Station, flame growth, spread and extinction over a composite cotton-fiberglass fabric blend (referred to as the SIBAL fabric) were studied in low-speed concurrent forced flows. The tests were conducted in a small flow duct within the Microgravity Science Glovebox. The fuel samples measured 1.2 and 2.2 cm wide and 10 cm long. Ambient oxygen was varied from 21% down to 16% and flow speed from 40 cm/s down to 1 cm/s. A small flame resulted at low flow, enabling us to observe the entire history of flame development including ignition, flame growth, steady spread (in some cases) and decay at the end of the sample. In addition, by decreasing flow velocity during some of the tests, low-speed flame quenching extinction limits were found as a function of oxygen percentage. The quenching speeds were found to be between 1 and 5 cm/s with higher speed in lower oxygen atmosphere. The shape of the quenching boundary supports the prediction by earlier theoretical models. These long duration microgravity experiments provide a rare opportunity for solid fuel combustion since microgravity time in ground-based facilities is generally not sufficient. This is the first time that a low-speed quenching boundary in concurrent spread is determined in a clean and unambiguous manner.
Research Containing: thermodynamic
DECLIC is a multi-user facility to investigate critical fluids behaviour and directional solidification of transparent alloys, developed in the frame of a joint NASA/CNES research program. The instrument is a miniaturized thermo optical laboratory in which one can plug inserts containing the materials to be studied.
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.
A series of fluid physics microgravity experiments with an enough long run time were performed in the ‘‘KIBO,’’ the Japanese Experiment Module aboard the International Space Station, to examine the transition to chaos of the thermocapillary convection in a half zone liquid bridge of silicone oil with a Prandtl number of 112. The temperature difference between the coaxial disks induced the thermocapillary-driven flow, and we experimentally demonstrated that the flow fields underwent a tran- sition from steady flow to oscillatory flow, and finally to chaotic flow with increasing temperature differ- ence. We obtained the surface temperature time series at the middle of the liquid bridge to quantitatively evaluate the transition process of the flow fields. By Fourier analysis, we further confirmed that the flow fields changed from a periodic, to a quasi-periodic, and finally to a chaotic state. The increasing nonlin- earity with the development of the flow fields was confirmed by time-series chaos analysis. The deter- mined Lyapunov exponent and the translation error indicated that the flow fields made transition to the chaotic field with the increasing temperature difference.
Temperature dependence of Soret and diffusion coefficients for toluene-cyclohexane mixture measured in convection-free environment
We report on the measurement of diffusion (D), Soret (S(T)), and thermodiffusion (D(T)) coefficients in toluene-cyclohexane mixture with mass fraction of toluene 0.40 onboard of the International Space Station. The coefficients were measured in the range of the mean temperatures between 20 degrees C and 34 degrees C. The Soret coefficient is negative within the investigated temperature range and its absolute value |S(T)| decreases with increasing temperature. The diffusion coefficient for this system increases with temperature rising. For comparison, the temperature dependence of diffusion coefficient was measured in ground laboratory using counter-flow cell technique and revealed a good agreement with microgravity results. A non-direct comparison of the measured onboard Soret coefficients with different systems indicated a similar trend for the temperature dependent behavior. Unexpected experimental finding is that for this system the thermodiffusion coefficient D(T) does not depend on temperature.
Contribution to the benchmark for ternary mixtures: Measurement of diffusion and Soret coefficients in 1,2,3,4-tetrahydronaphthalene, isobutylbenzene, and dodecane onboard the ISS
The paper is devoted to processing the data of DCMIX 1 space experiment. In this experiment, the Optical digital interferometry was used to measure the diffusion and Soret coefficients in the ternary mixture of 1,2,3,4-tetrahydronaphthalene, isobutylbenzene and n-dodecane at mass fractions of 0.8/0.1/0.1 and at 25 degrees C. The raw interferometric images were processed to obtain the temporal and spatial evolution of refractive indices for two laser beams of different wavelengths. The method for extracting the diffusion and thermal diffusion coefficients originally developed for optical beam deflection was extended to optical digital interferometry allowing for the spatial variation of refractive index along the diffusion path. The method was validated and applied to processing the data for Soret and diffusion steps in 5 experimental runs. The obtained results for the Soret coefficients and one of the eigenvalues of diffusion matrix showed acceptable agreement within each step. The second eigenvalue was not determined with sufficient accuracy.
Experimental elaboration of liquid droplet cooler-radiator models under microgravity and deep vacuum conditions
The basic results of space tests of liquid droplet cooler radiator models as the main elements of frameless systems for low grade heat rejection are considered. The studies carried out have been analyzed and intermediate elaboration’s results are summarized, which concern (1) the development of generators of drop let propellant flows, (2) revealing an operational behavior of fluid collectors of various types and analysis of unsolved problems associated with droplet collection upon the open trajectory’s section passage, and (3) pro vision of the coolant circulation contour’s closing. The necessity is substantiated for the activization of works directed to carrying out space experiments with improved radiator models and new promising propellants in order to provide a possibility of creating new space power plants characterized by megawatt power levels.
Near the critical point of fluids, critical opalescence results in light attenuation, or turbidity increase, that can be used to probe the universality of critical behavior. Turbidity measurements in SF6 under weightlessness conditions on board the International Space Station are performed to appraise such behavior in terms of both temperature and density distances from the critical point. Data are obtained in a temperature range, far (1 K) from and extremely close (a few muK) to the phase transition, unattainable from previous experiments on Earth. Data are analyzed with renormalization-group matching classical-to-critical crossover models of the universal equation of state. It results that the data in the unexplored region, which is a minute deviant from the critical density value, still show adverse effects for testing the true asymptotic nature of the critical point phenomena.
Recent droplet combustion experiments conducted on board the International Space Station (ISS) showed that large, isolated n-alkane droplets can burn quasi-steadily following radiative extinction, supported by cool-flame chemistry in the Negative Temperature Coefficient (NTC) region. In this study we report preliminary experimental results from the ongoing binary- droplet arrays experiments. For the first time, it is shown that quasi-steady combustion of cool flames can be supported by binary-droplet arrays. Under some conditions binary droplets support cool flames when a single droplet of similar size burns to completion with hot flame. The large, merged hot flame of the binary-array leads to the necessary thermal and species fields that can transition to cool flame combustion following radiative extinction, unlike the single droplet in that ambient environment. These observations may have important implications with regard to spray combustion.
Benchmark values for the Soret, thermodiffusion and molecular diffusion coefficients of the ternary mixture tetralin+isobutylbenzene+n-dodecane with 0.8-0.1-0.1 mass fraction
With the aim of providing reliable benchmark values, we have measured the Soret, thermodiffusion and molecular diffusion coefficients for the ternary mixture formed by 1,2,3,4-tetrahydronaphthalene, isobutylbenzene and n-dodecane for a mass fraction of 0.8-0.1-0.1 and at a temperature of 25 degrees C. The experimental techniques used by the six participating laboratories are Optical Digital Interferometry, Taylor Dispersion technique, Open Ended Capillary, Optical Beam Deflection, Thermogravitational technique and Sliding Symmetric Tubes technique in ground conditions and Selectable Optical Diagnostic Instrument (SODI) in microgravity conditions. The measurements obtained in the SODI installation have been analyzed independently by four laboratories. Benchmark values are proposed for the thermodiffusion and Soret coefficients and for the eigenvalues of the diffusion matrix in ground conditions, and for Soret coefficients in microgravity conditions.