Physics

The Worldwide Area Station Turns 20  

Controlling the circulation of fluids in house is difficult, which poses efficiency issues for gear on spacecraft. In gasoline tanks, for instance, drops of propellant could bounce round contained in the tank and intrude with the gasoline switch course of. “Nothing works in house,” says Mark Weislogel of Portland State College in Oregon. He provides that NASA frequently ferries new components to house for bathrooms, fridges, and the prefer to hold them functioning.

Weislogel research fluid flows in zero-g. He designs and exams tapered conduits with cross sections which can be triangules and different polygons, exploiting floor rigidity and wetting results to information fluids alongside some path. In a sequence of experiments that launched in 2004, he and others monitored how totally different fluids moved via these conduits, they usually discovered some quirky behaviors. For instance, prewetting a conduit can “radically” change the way in which it transports a fluid, Weislogel says. Fluids can change from flowing alongside one wall of a polygonal conduit to flowing alongside one other wall, and flows can pace up or decelerate, all on account of prewetting. Understanding these behaviors has allowed engineers to design higher urine-processing gear, warmth exchangers, and even espresso cups. “If we’ll ship individuals to Mars, these techniques need to work completely,” Weislogel says.


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