Assessment of Directions in Microgravity and Physical by National Research Council, Division on Engineering and

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By National Research Council, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, Space Studies Board, Committee on Microgravity Research

For thirty years, the NASA microgravity software has used house as a device to check primary circulation phenomena which are very important to fields starting from combustion technology to biotechnology. This ebook assesses the prior effect and present prestige of microgravity learn courses in combustion, fluid dynamics, basic physics, and fabrics technological know-how and offers thoughts for promising subject matters of destiny study in every one self-discipline. counsel is given for atmosphere priorities throughout disciplines by means of assessing every one advised subject by way of the chance of its good fortune and the value of its capability impression on clinical wisdom and realizing; terrestrial purposes and expertise wishes; and NASA expertise wishes. At NASA's request, the booklet additionally comprises an exam of rising examine fields equivalent to nanotechnology and biophysics, and makes concepts relating to themes that would be appropriate for integration into NASA's microgravity application.

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However, it remains an elusive goal, because almost all materials are combustible in the presence of oxygen at sufficiently high temperatures (for example, an aluminum storage canister burning with pure oxygen initiated the Mir fire). Moreover, all manned spaceflights have embarked with large amounts of even more readily ignitable materials. Microgravity is useful for the study of fundamental combustion processes on Earth because the most basic combustion phenomenon is the release of heat. The resulting density changes induced in the reacting gases on Earth generate buoyancy forces that strongly influence the mixing and transport of the reactants at all but the smallest scales of motion.

For example, twophase liquid-vapor heat rejection systems lead to significant reductions in vehicle size, volume, and weight. The dynamics of miscible and immiscible interfaces in two-phase flows has relevance to advanced life support systems and to terrestrial applications such as secondary oil recovery. Droplet dynamics and liquid atomization (in, for example, sprays) occur in power and propulsion systems and in thermal control systems. Bubbly flows, such as those that occur in thermohydraulic loops, also need improved understanding so that problems anticipated under microgravity conditions can be addressed.

Whether this is a temporary setback or the beginning of the end of the microgravity combustion program remains to be seen. IMPACT OF NASA COMBUSTION RESEARCH The topics that have received extensive coverage in NASA’s microgravity combustion research program include the following: • • • • • • • Flame spread on thin and thick solids, Smoldering combustion, Jet flame lengths and shapes, Turbulent flames, Soot and radiation, Flame balls, and Droplet combustion and chemical kinetics. The NASA microgravity combustion research program supported approximately 70 investigators in FY 2001.

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