Investigation of Mechanism of Faceted Cellular Array Growth (Facet) - 11.22.16

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Science Objectives for Everyone
Investigation of Mechanism of Faceted Cellular Array Growth (Facet) will investigate the phenomena at the solid-liquid interface for crystallization, especially for facet-like crystallization, which are considered to be strongly influenced by the temperature and concentration distributions in the liquid phase.
Science Results for Everyone
This investigation looked at the solid-liquid (S/L) interface for crystallization, especially of flat faces on geometric shapes, or facets. Crystals tend to develop structural defects and capture impurities when generating a new facet. Data was obtained on high-resolution temperature and concentration in the solid/liquid interface and the relationship between growth rate and kinetics undercooling, a driving force of crystal growth. Researchers observed breakdown of the growth interface at maximum kinetics undercooling and splitting of the S/L interface by dense t-butyl alcohol, which decreased the melting point. This experiment could help explain the process of facet growth and its application to material manufacturing processes.

The following content was provided by Yuko Inatomi, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Information provided courtesy of the Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency (JAXA).
Experiment Details


Principal Investigator(s)
Yuko Inatomi, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Tsukuba, Japan

Kazuhiko Kuribayashi, JAXA, Japan
Itsuo Onaka, Osaka University, Japan
W. Huang, Northwestern Polytechnical University, China
Jincheng Wang, Northwestern Polytechnical University, China

Information Pending

Sponsoring Space Agency
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Sponsoring Organization
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

Research Benefits
Information Pending

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2010 - March 2011

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • In order to investigate the phenomena at the solid-liquid interface in facet growth, in-situ observation of concentration and temperature diffusion field with two wavelength interferometer are carried out using transparent organic materials under microgravity condition. Results can provide the useful data on the optimization of the crystal growth condition not only in space but also on earth.

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Space Applications
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Earth Applications
The results will provide valuable data on creating high quality materials for industrial use, such as sular cell or superconducting magnet.

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Operational Requirements and Protocols
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Decadal Survey Recommendations

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Results/More Information

Facet Growth experiments were conducted aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in a micro-G environment. A brief summary of the obtained results at this point is as follows: (1) High-resolution Temperature and Concentration distributions in the vicinity of the solid/liquid (S/L) interface were successfully obtained. (2) The relationship between the growth rate and a kinetics undercooling at the S/L interface, which is known as a driving force of crystal growth, was obtained. (3) Breakdown of the growth interface occurred at the point with maximum kinetics undercooling. Splitting of the S/L interface was caused by the dense t-butyl alcohol, which decreased the melting point. (4) Numerical simulations based on a phase-field model validated the observed effect of latent heat of fusion on the change of the S/L change.

If the factors affecting faceted cellular array growth are revealed by this experiment, it may be possible to theoretically explain the process of the growth, and its application to actual material manufacturing processes can be expected. This would also deepen the understanding of the formation process of natural minerals with similar facets such as rock crystal and agate.

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Results Publications

    Inatomi Y, Ashida M, Sakata K, Okutani T.  Simultaneous measurement of temperature and concentration during faceted cellular array growth under microgravity. World Journal of Engineering. 2014 March 1; 11(1): 41-48. DOI: 10.1260/1708-5284.11.1.41.

    Inatomi Y, Yoshizaki I, Sakata K, Shimaoka T, Sone T, Tomobe T, Adachi S, Yoda S, Yoshimura Y.  Investigation on mechanism of faceted cellular array growth in International Space Station. Defect and Diffusion Forum. 2012 April; 323-325: 533-537. DOI: 10.4028/

    Wang J, Inatomi Y.  Three-dimensional phase field modeling of the faceted cellular growth. ISIJ International. 2010; 50(12): 1901-1907. DOI: 10.2355/isijinternational.50.1901.

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Ground Based Results Publications

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ISS Patents

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image NASA Image: ISS018E044461 - Koichi Wakata installs a FACET cell in the Solution Crystallization Observation Facility (SCOF) in the JEM Pressurized Module (JPM) during Expedition 18.
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image NASA Image: ISS024E008909 - View of hardware related to the installation of air circulation covers on the Solution Crystallization Observation Facility (SCOF) / Investigation of Mechanism of Faceted Cellular Array Growth (FACET) in the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM).
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