Plasma Krystall-4 (PK-4) - 09.17.14
ISS Science for Everyone
Science Objectives for Everyone
The Plasma Krystall-4 (PK-4) experiment will increase our knowledge of the processes influencing/controlling plasmas, a state of matter (like solids, liquids and gases) which account for more than 99% of the visible matter in our universe. Even though PK-4 is principally a fundamental experiment, understanding how complex plasmas can be influenced will give us a better understanding of how we could make improvements in areas and industries where plasmas are used.
Science Results for Everyone
Sponsoring Space Agency
European Space Agency (ESA)
ISS Expedition Duration
September 2014 - Ongoing
Previous ISS Missions
PK-4 is not an apparatus dedicated for specific experiments but rather a laboratory which shall offer the possibility to perform a large variety of experiments with complex plasmas and to react to new developments in this field in a manner as flexible as possible. The main interest lies in the investigation of the liquid phase and flow phenomena of complex plasmas.
The experiments can be divided into three classes of fundamental questions:
1. Microscopic properties of complex plasmas: charging of particles, external forces (e.g. ion drag), fundamental interactions, agglomeration, particle growth;
2. Macroscopic properties of complex plasmas: hydrodynamics (e.g. viscosity), thermodynamics, non-equilibriums aspects of complex plasmas;
3. Generic properties of classical many-body systems: Dynamic processes can be investigated on the level of single particles, which is not possible in most systems. Typical examples are crystallization and melting, photons in plasma crystals, dust waves, Mach cones, nozzles, turbulence, and nano-fluidics.
This investigation is applied to new knowledge and not specifically to advances in space exploration.
PK-4 will enable fundamental investigations of flows and related instabilities by mimicking molecular mechanisms at a scale which will allow for real time in-situ optical observations. This needs on-orbit experiments to be undertaken in order to observe the processes at work which are obviously disturbed by the influence of gravity on Earth. Even though PK-4 is principally a fundamental experiment, understanding the processes at work and understanding how complex plasmas can be influenced by varying research parameters will give us a better understanding of how we could make improvements in areas and industries where plasmas are used.
Ground Based Results Publications
Takahashi K, Tonouchi M, Adachi S, Totsuji H. Study of cylindrical dusty plasmas in PK-4J; experiments. International Journal of Microgravity Science and Application. 2014; 31(2): 62-65.
Khrapak SA, Thoma MH, Chaudhuri M, Morfill GE, Zobnin AV, Usachev AD, Petrov OF, Fortov VE. Particle flows in a dc discharge in laboratory and microgravity conditions. Physical Review E. 2013 June; 87(6): 063109.
Goree JA, Liu B, Feng Y, Feng Y. Diagnostics for transport phenomena in strongly coupled dusty plasmas. Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion. 2013; epub: 17 pp.
Totsuji H, Totsuji C, Takahashi K, Adachi S. Study of cylindrical dusty plasmas in PK-4J; Theory and simulations. International Journal of Microgravity Science and Application. 2014; 31(2): 55-61.