Glenn Experiments Performed on Space Station Expedition 16
On October 10, 2007, a Russian Soyuz spacecraft lifted off on its journey to the International Space Station. It carried two Expedition 16 crew members, Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko. Four other astronauts will also spend time as Expedition 16 crew members. During the sixth-month mission, the crew may perform up to four NASA Glenn Research Center experiments.
Coarsening in Solid-Liquid Mixtures-2 (CSLM-2)
Coarsening is an increase in the size of grains in a metal, usually during heating. It occurs on Earth during the processing of any metal alloy and thus affects products ranging from dental fillings to turbine blades.
The objective of the Coarsening in Solid Liquid Mixtures-2
(CSLM-2) experiment is to assess the validity of the theory of coarsening that has been used to design materials. Processing the sample in microgravity will allow researchers to observe coarsening without the phenomena of convection and sedimentation influencing the arrangement of particles in the mixtures.
A better understanding of coarsening will lead to the development of improved manufacturing processes.
Image right: Astronaut Clayton Anderson works on the Capillary Flow Experiment during Expedition 15. Credit: NASA
The following experiments are designated as reserve payloads and will be performed if crew time becomes available.
Capillary Flow Experiments (CFE) Van Gape 1 and Contact Line 1
CFE is a suite of experiments designed to investigate how fluid flows in microgravity. The results will help engineers design more efficient fluid management systems, such as fuel tanks, cooling systems and water recycling systems, for future space missions.
The Vane Gap-1 module consists of an elliptical-shaped test chamber with a vane that can be rotated 360 degrees about the test chamber axis. The fluid is silicone oil. The Contact Line 1 module consists of two cylindrical-shaped test chambers, one containing a smooth surface and one containing a pinning edge etched in the cylinder wall. The modules investigate the dynamic response of a fluid to these conditions.
Binary Colloidal Alloy Test (BCAT) 3 and 4
The Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-4 is a follow-up to the Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-3. These tests use colloids, or tiny particles suspended in fluid, to mimic the behavior of atoms. On Earth, colloids aren't very surprising -- they just sink to the bottom of the container. But in the absence of gravity, they behave like slowly moving atoms.
Crew members will mix the samples, photograph the growth and formation of the colloids, and downlink the images for analysis. Results will help scientists understand fundamental physics concepts previously hidden by the effects of gravity. They also may lead to improvements in rocket propellants, biotechnology and fiber optics.
+ Expedition 16