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For release: 07/02/03
Photo release #: 03-104

Marshall Center levitator helps validate 50-year-old hypothesis

Animation of metal sample inside the Electrostatic LevitatorInside the Electrostatic Levitator at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., a metal sample is suspended by electromagnetic energy. At the start of the experiment, the red glow of the pointing laser is reflected on the metal sphere, where the heating laser is aimed to melt the solid sample. As the sample melts, it glows red, then yellow, and white at its hottest. Then, the laser is turned off and the sample cools, changing from a liquid drop of molten metal alloy to a solid sphere. Data taken during this phase change helped Dr. Kenneth Kelton, a physicist at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., validate a 50-year-old hypothesis that explains why liquid metals resist turning into solids. (NASA/MSFC/B.Burns)

Animated GIF files: Large, 3.6 MB; Small, 712 KB


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