Oil Emulsion Experiment (OEE) - 07.14.16
Oil Emulsion is an experiment that will be used to teach students basic principles of fluid physics. Identical experiments will be performed on ISS and in the classroom to compare mixing oil and water in microgravity to mixing them on Earth. Science Results for Everyone
Oil and water do mix, at least a little. Experiments performed on the space station and in classrooms on the ground mixed oil and water to highlight how emulsions behave differently in microgravity. Participants shook a sealed container of oil and colored water until the two fluids were slightly mixed. The experiment in space was filmed and shown on German public television. Different kinds of phase separation could be observed in space and on Earth and explained by the teacher. This experiment can be used as a springboard for further lessons on physics or other scientific topics. Experiment Details
Hartmut Ripken, Ph.D., German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany
German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany
Sponsoring Space Agency
European Space Agency (ESA)
ISS Expedition Duration
April 2006 - September 2006
- Oil Emulsion will be used as a teaching tool in the classroom to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.
- A container of oil and colored water will be mixed on ISS and on Earth in order to observe the reactions of the mixture in gravity (Earth) and microgravity (ISS).
This experiment will be carried out by students (11-14 years old) on Earth and by Thomas Reiter during his long-duration mission on board the ISS. The space section of Oil Emulsion will be filmed and downlinked. This experiment will highlight how an oil and water emulsion behaves differently in weightlessness and under gravity conditions. A sealed container holding two immiscible fluids, clear oil and ink colored water, will be shaken until the two fluids are slightly mixed.
The fluids' behavior in space will be filmed within defined time slots during a two week period. The data will be downlinked and the results will be shown in a specialized children's program on German public TV. The different kinds of segregation that occur during the experiment, in space and on Earth, can be observed and then explained by the teacher. This experiment can form the basis of further physics lessons, (concerning weightlessness, density, other fluid parameters) and maybe even lessons in other scientific areas. The Oil Emulsion experiment was introduced by DLR and is a cooperation between the German and the European Space Agencies.
Operational Requirements and Protocols
Decadal Survey Recommendations
Information Pending^ back to top
The information provided is courtesy of the ESA Astrolab Mission web page.
The container with the oil and water mixture that is used in the Oil Emulsion investigation. (Image courtesy ESA)
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