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Gravity’s grip on heat and fire to be studied in space

Flame with tear-drop shape on Earth and round shape in microgravity

Researchers will study spherical cool diffusion flames onboard the International Space Station (ISS) National Lab to develop new chemical kinetics mechanisms and computational tools for combustion research. The improved understanding of cool diffusion flames gained by these experiments will lead to improved designs of practical combustion devices.

Credit: Courtesy NASA


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moving flame

Studying fire in microgravity will help engineering researchers understand the spread of fire in wildlands and confined spaces on Earth.

Credit: Courtesy NASA


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Bubbles form on micro-structured surface

Supercomputers and high-power electronics are kept cool with the help of liquids, but vapor bubbles that form on hot surfaces often impede heat dissipation. In new NSF-funded experiments on Earth and the International Space Station National Lab, a micro-structured surface will be used to impart directional mobility to vapor bubbles released from a heated surface and help mitigate premature burnout. The long-term goal is to develop a simple, passive, self-regulating micro-structured surface technology for heat sinks.

Credit: Sushil H. Bhavnani, Auburn University, and Vinod Narayanan, University of California-Davis


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Special furnace for ISS experiments

Experiments involving a micro-structured surface designed to improve heat dissipation from electronics will be conducted in a modified version of the Pore Formation and Mobility Furnace (developed by Teledyne Brown Engineering) on board the International Space Station (ISS) National Lab.

Credit: Sushil H. Bhavnani, Auburn University, and Vinod Narayanan, University of California-Davis


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