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Scientists and payload developers can get more information on International Space Station research facilities by contacting the ISS Payloads Office or at 281-244-6187.

Boiling eXperiment Facility (BXF)


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

Facility Overview

This content was provided by William A. Sheredy, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Brief Facility Summary

The Boiling Experiment Facility (BXF) will support experiments to study the processes involved in boiling, including the heat transfer and vapor removal processes that take place during boiling in microgravity. This research should enable more efficient cooling systems to be developed for future spacecrafts and for Earth.

Facility Manager(s)

  • William A. Sheredy, 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


    Previous ISS Missions

    The Boiling Experiment Facility is unique hardware that has not flown in microgravity.

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    Facility Description

    Facility Overview

    • The International Space Station (ISS) is the ideal laboratory for studying the influence of microgravity on boiling.

    • Understanding the effects of microgravity on boiling mechanisms is critical to the design of heat removal equipment for use in space-based applications. The Boiling Experiment Facility (BXF) will validate models being developed for heat transfer coefficients, critical heat flux, and pool boiling curves.

    • Boiling is relevant to space-based hardware, such as heat exchangers, and processes, such as cryogenic fuel storage and electronic cooling, since large amounts of heat can be removed with only small increases in the temperature of the heat transfer fluid, reducing the difference between the temperature of the heat source and the temperature of the radiator. For space applications, this reduction in temperature difference allows a higher radiator temperature, which can reduce the area and weight of the radiator.


    The Boiling Experiment Facility (BXF) is designed to operate in the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) on the International Space Station (ISS). The BXF consists of a boiling chamber mounted within a containment vessel. The boiling chamber has three science heaters, pressure and temperature measurement instrumentation, a bellows assembly for pressure control, and pumps for liquid conditioning. The containment vessel provides the second and third levels of containment for the test fluid should it leak from the boiling chamber. Standard rate (29.97 Hz) video cameras are mounted inside the chamber to provide two orthogonal side-view images and a standard side-view image. The high-speed video camera is mounted on the exterior of the containment vessel wall and acquires 4 seconds of images through the bottom of the heater at 500 images per second.

    An avionics box contains the data acquisition and control unit, removable hard drives, indicator panel, and the control unit for the high-speed video camera. The avionics box interfaces with the Microgravity Science Glovebox laptop computer, the high-speed video camera, and the BXF-embedded controller boards within the containment vessel.

    All three heater arrays are located in a single fluid-filled test chamber. Various data, including temperature and pressure data, and video will be acquired throughout the test. Postflight processing and analysis of this data and video will lead to more accurate mathematical models of the heat transfer process.

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    Facility Operations

    A test chamber produces the appropriate pressure and temperature conditions for the 3.5 liters of the test fluid, n-perfluorohexane. Each investigation uses custom heaters. Two arrays of 96 individually controlled microheaters are currently coupled with side-view and high-speed cameras that take photographs through the bottom of the microheaters. Another single heater array consists of five independently controlled heaters that activate individual bubble nucleation sites.

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    Results/More Information

    Information Pending

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  • Onboard ISS
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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

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    Related Websites
  • Space Flight Systems at GRC - Boiling Experiment Facility
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    image Boiling Experiment Facility (BXF) chamber testing at Glenn Research Center.
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    Information provided by the investigation team to the ISS Program Scientist's Office.
    If updates are needed to the summary please contact JSC-ISS-Program-Science-Group. For other general questions regarding space station research and technology, please feel free to call our help line at 281-244-6187 or e-mail at JSC-ISS-Payloads-Helpline.