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Fluids Integrated Rack - Fluids and Combustion Facility
12.05.12
 
 

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Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

Facility Overview

This content was provided by Robert Corban, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Brief Facility Summary

The Fluids Integrated Rack (FIR) is a complementary fluid physics research facility designed to host investigations in areas such as colloids, gels, bubbles, wetting and capillary action, and phase changes, including boiling and cooling.

Facility Manager(s)

  • Robert Corban, Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH, United States
  • Co-Facility Manager(s)

    Information Pending

    Facility Developer(s) Information Pending

    Sponsoring Agency

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

    Expeditions Assigned

    19/20,21/22,23/24,25/26,27/28,29/30,31/32,35/36

    Previous ISS Missions

    Information Pending

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    Facility Description

    Facility Overview

    • Fluids under microgravity conditions perform differently from those on Earth. Understanding how fluids react in these conditions will lead to improved designs on fuel tanks, water systems, and other fluid-based systems.


    • The Fluids Integrated Rack (FIR) provides a central location onboard the International Space Station (ISS) for fluid physics investigations into such areas as complex fluids (colloids and gels), instabilities (bubbles), interfacial phenomena (wetting and capillary action), and phase changes (boiling and cooling).

    Description

    The Fluids Integrated Rack is one of two powered racks that compose the Fluids and Combustion Facility (FCF) on the International Space Station (ISS). The other rack is the Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR). The FCF accommodates the unique challenges of working with fluids and combustion processes in microgravity and provides services and capabilities comparable to those found in traditional Earth-based laboratories. To isolate the delicate experiments that are conducted within the FCF from the vibration caused by the ISS systems and crew, the CIR employs the Passive Rack Isolation System (PaRIS), and the FIR employs the Active Rack Isolation System (ARIS) that has been used extensively by the EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to Space Station (EXPRESS) racks on the ISS. The FCF is a permanent, modular, multiuser facility that accommodates microgravity science experiments onboard the ISS. The FCF supports sustained, systematic research in the disciplines of fluid physics and combustion science.

    The Fluids Integrated Rack (FIR) features a large, user-configurable volume for experiments. The volume resembles a laboratory optics bench. An experiment can be built up on the bench from components, attached as a self-contained package, or a combination of the two. The FIR provides data acquisition and control, sensor interfaces, laser and white light sources, advanced imaging capabilities, power, cooling, and other resources. Astronauts can quickly mount and set up the experiment, and final operations can be accomplished by remote control from the FCF Telescience Support Center at Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, OH, or from the principal investigator's home institution. The FIR offers crewmembers easy access to the back of the optics bench for maintenance and experiment reconfiguration.

    The FIR is built to accommodate a wide range of experiments. The fluid physics research focuses on complex fluids, interfacial phenomena, dynamics and instabilities, multiphase flows, and phase changes. Investigations range from fundamental research to technology development in support of the NASA exploration missions and include include life support, power, propulsion, and thermal control systems. The FIR minimizes upmass by using different modules that can support various types of experiments.

    The first experiments on the FIR will make use of the Light Microscopy Module (LMM). The LMM is an automated microscope that allows flexible imaging (e.g., bright field, dark field, phase contrast) for physical and biological experiments and can be controlled remotely (commanded from the ground). The LMM accommodates sample changeout and fluid containment and includes a glovebox for on-orbit sample manipulation. This unique capability can support a large set of experiments that require visual imaging of a small test sample. The initial experiment in the LMM was designed to better understand heat transfer in the design of lightweight radiators.

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    Operations

    Facility Operations

    The Fluids Integrated Rack (FIR) is designed to use minimal crew time during on-orbit operation. The crew will participate in reconfigurations that are specific to each experiment. Reconfiguration consists of installing experiment hardware and configuring the diagnostic equipment on the optics bench. After the experiment is installed, the overall operation is controlled by ground teams at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, OH. Changeouts of test cells and experiment resources are performed periodically by the ISS crewmembers. Most of the data (images and diagnostic data) is transmitted to the ground. The data hard drives in the FIR are easily replaced on-orbit if needed.

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    Results/More Information

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    Availability

    Information Pending

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    Results Publications

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    Ground Based Results Publications

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    ISS Patents

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    Related Publications

      Moss L, Just M, Grodsinsky C, Heese J, Humphreys BT.  Microgravity Environment Predictions and Control for the Fluids Integrated Rack. AIAA; 2004

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    Related Websites
  • Exploration Systems at Glenn Research Center - Fluids Integrated Rack
  • Research & Technology at the NASA Glenn Research Center
  • Exploration Systems at Glenn Research Center - Fluids and Combustion Facility
  • ISS Research Project- FIR
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    Imagery

    image The Fluids Integrated Rack (FIR) shown with the doors open and the optics bench (hollow box-like structure) translated out of the rack.
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    image The Fluids Integrated Rack (FIR) shown with the doors open and the optics bench rotated down to allow the International Space Station crew on-orbit access to set up and maintain the experiments.
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    image The Fluids Integrated Rack (FIR) is shown with the door open. Inside, the Light Microscopy Module (LMM), an optical microscope, is shown mounted to the optics bench.
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    image NASA Image: ISS021E033218
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    image NASA Image: ISS021E011438 - NASA astronaut Nicole Stott, Expedition 21 flight engineer, installs hardware in the Fluids Integrated Rack (FIR) in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station.
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    image NASA Image: ISS021E011440 - NASA astronaut Nicole Stott, Expedition 21 flight engineer, installs hardware in the Fluids Integrated Rack (FIR) in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station.
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