This paper reports the experimental results on the instability and associated roll structures (RSs) of Marangoni convection in liquid bridges formed under the microgravity environment on the International Space Station. The geometry of interest is high aspect ratio (AR = height/diameter ≥ 1.0) liquid bridges of high Prandtl number fluids (Pr = 67 and 207) suspended between coaxial disks heated differentially. The unsteady flow field and associated RSs were revealed with the three-dimensional particle tracking velocimetry. It is found that the flow field after the onset of instability exhibits oscillations with azimuthal mode number m = 1 and associated RSs traveling in the axial direction. The RSs travel in the same direction as the surface flow (co-flow direction) for 1.00 ≤ AR ≤ 1.25 while they travel in the opposite direction (counter-flow direction) for AR ≥ 1.50, thus showing the change of traveling directions with AR. This traveling direction for AR ≥ 1.50 is reversed to the co-flow direction when the temperature difference between the disks is increased to the condition far beyond the critical one. This change of traveling directions is accompanied by the increase of the oscillation frequency. The characteristics of the RSs for AR ≥ 1.50, such as the azimuthal mode of oscillation, the dimensionless oscillation frequency, and the traveling direction, are in reasonable agreement with those of the previous sounding rocket experiment for AR = 2.50 and those of the linear stability analysis of an infinite liquid bridge.
Research Containing: Two-phase flow
Capillary solutions have long existed for the control of liquid inventories in spacecraft fluid systems such as liquid propellants, cryogens and thermal fluids for temperature control. Such large length scale, ‘low-gravity,’ capillary systems exploit container geometry and fluid properties—primarily wetting—to passively locate or transport fluids to desired positions for a variety of purposes. Such methods have only been confidently established if the wetting conditions are known and favorable. In this paper, several of the significant challenges for ‘capillary solutions’ to low-gravity multiphase fluids management aboard spacecraft are briefly reviewed in light of applications common to life support systems that emphasize the impact of the widely varying wetting properties typical of aqueous systems. A restrictive though no less typifying example of passive phase separation in a urine collection system is highlighted that identifies key design considerations potentially met by predominately capillary solutions. Sample results from novel scale model prototype testing aboard a NASA low-g aircraft are presented that support the various design considerations.
The microgravity environment on the Shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS) provides the ideal condition to perform experiments on Coarsening in Solid-Liquid Mixtures (CSLM) as deleterious effects such as particle sedimentation and buoyancy-induced convection are suppressed. For an ideal system such as Lead-Tin in which all the thermophysical properties are known, the initial condition in microgravity of randomly dispersed particles with local clustering of solid Tin in eutectic liquid Lead-Tin matrix, permitted kinetic studies of competitive particle growth for a range of volume fractions. Verification that the quenching phase of the experiment had negligible effect of the spatial distribution of particles is shown through the computational solution of the dynamical equations of motion, thus insuring quench-free effects from the coarsened microstructure measurements. The low volume fraction experiments conducted on the Shuttle showed agreement with transient Ostwald ripening theory, and the steady-state requirement of LSW theory was not achieved. More recent experiments conducted on ISS with higher volume fractions have achieved steady-state condition and show that the kinetics follows the classical diffusion limited particle coarsening prediction and the measured 3D particle size distribution becomes broader as predicted from theory.
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.