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Showing papers in "Microgravity Science and Technology in 2016"


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: An overview of ground-based facilities for the simulation of microgravity which were used in the frame of an ESA ground- based research programme dedicated to providing scientists access to these experimental capabilities in order to prepare their space experiments is given.
Abstract: Knowledge of the role of gravity in fundamental biological processes and, consequently, the impact of exposure to microgravity conditions provide insight into the basics of the development of life as well as enabling long-term space exploration missions. However, experimentation in real microgravity is expensive and scarcely available; thus, a variety of platforms have been developed to provide, on Earth, an experimental condition comparable to real microgravity. With the aim of simulating microgravity conditions, different ground-based facilities (GBF) have been constructed such as clinostats and random positioning machines as well as magnets for magnetic levitation. Here, we give an overview of ground-based facilities for the simulation of microgravity which were used in the frame of an ESA ground-based research programme dedicated to providing scientists access to these experimental capabilities in order to prepare their space experiments.

71 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors present the new Airbus A310 ZERO-G and its main characteristics and interfaces for scientific experiments, and the experiments conducted during the first European campaign are presented.
Abstract: Aircraft parabolic flights repetitively provide up to 23 seconds of reduced gravity during ballistic flight manoeuvres. Parabolic flights are used to conduct short microgravity investigations in Physical and Life Sciences and in Technology, to test instrumentation prior to space flights and to train astronauts before a space mission. The use of parabolic flights is complementary to other microgravity carriers (drop towers, sounding rockets), and preparatory to manned space missions on board the International Space Station and other manned spacecraft, such as Shenzhou and the future Chinese Space Station. After 17 years of using the Airbus A300 ZERO-G, the French company Novespace, a subsidiary of the ’Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales’ (CNES, French Space Agency), based in Bordeaux, France, purchased a new aircraft, an Airbus A310, to perform parabolic flights for microgravity research in Europe. Since April 2015, the European Space Agency (ESA), CNES and the ‘Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V.’ (DLR, the German Aerospace Center) use this new aircraft, the Airbus A310 ZERO-G, for research experiments in microgravity. The first campaign was a Cooperative campaign shared by the three agencies, followed by respectively a CNES, an ESA and a DLR campaign. This paper presents the new Airbus A310 ZERO-G and its main characteristics and interfaces for scientific experiments. The experiments conducted during the first European campaign are presented.

39 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the influence of thermal expansion and thermodiffusion on the initial state distribution of the fluid species in hydrocarbon reservoirs is quantified based on molecular dynamics simulations.
Abstract: In this work we propose a methodology, based on molecular dynamics simulations, to quantify the influence of segregation and thermodiffusion on the initial state distribution of the fluid species in hydrocarbon reservoirs. This convection-free approach has been applied to a synthetic oil composed of three normal alkanes and to a real acid gas. It has been found that the thermodiffusion effect induced by the geothermal gradient is similar (but opposite in sign) to that due to segregation for both mixtures. In addition, because of the combined effect of thermal expansion and thermodiffusion, it has been observed that the density gradient can be reversed, in the presence of a geothermal gradient. These numerical results emphasize the need of improving our quantification of thermodiffusion in multicomponent mixtures. The SCCO-SJ10 experiments will be a crucial step towards this goal.

38 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The background of Artificial Gravity with respect to hypergravity (including partial gravity) and information about actual ESA ground-based facilities for research on a variety of biosystems such as cells, plants, animals or, particularly, humans are given.
Abstract: Research on Artificial Gravity (AG) created by linear acceleration or centrifugation has a long history and could significantly contribute to realize long-term human spaceflight in the future. Employing centrifuges plays a prominent role in human physiology and gravitational biology. This article gives a short review about the background of Artificial Gravity with respect to hypergravity (including partial gravity) and provides information about actual ESA ground-based facilities for research on a variety of biosystems such as cells, plants, animals or, particularly, humans.

35 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, a frontal neutralization reaction between two miscible fluids filling a vertical Hele-Shaw cell was studied and it was shown that chemically induced changes of reagent concentrations coupled with concentration dependent diffusion can produce spatially localized low density areas which are sensitive to the external inertial field.
Abstract: In this work, we focus on the processes which accompany a frontal neutralization reaction occurring between two miscible fluids filling a vertical Hele-Shaw cell. We have found that chemically-induced changes of reagent concentrations coupled with concentration- dependent diffusion (CDD) can produce spatially localized low density areas which are sensitive to the external inertial field. In the case of static gravity we have demonstrated both experimentally and theoretically that it can give rise to the development of perfectly periodic convective structure. This scenario is strikingly different from the irregular density fingering, which is typically observed in the miscible systems. When the system is under the influence of the periodic low-frequency vibrations perpendicular to the reaction front, we found numerically the excitation of a mixed-mode instability combining the double-diffusion instabilities and the Rayleigh-Taylor mechanism of the convection within the low density areas.

35 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the interplay among different types of flow is presented as a possible and "natural" means to control convection patterning and strength in shallow rectangular cavities of finite extent (A =length/height =4) filled with a low Prandtl number liquid (silicon, Pr = 0.01).
Abstract: In this article the interplay among different types of flow (i.e. induced by driving forces of a different nature) is presented as a possible and “natural” means to control convection patterning and strength in shallow rectangular cavities of finite extent (A =length/height =4) filled with a low Prandtl number liquid (silicon, Pr =0.01). A variety of results concerning the possible spatial structure of the “mixed” states of steady Buoyant, Marangoni and Vibrational convection are discussed with the express intent of supporting the optimization of future experiments to be performed onboard the International Space Station.

34 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, a self-referencing optical method is proposed for the determination of the thermal diffusion ratio of a binary mixture that does not require previous knowledge of the temperature difference applied to the sample.
Abstract: In a fluid system driven out of equilibrium by the presence of a gradient, fluctuations become long-ranged and their intensity diverges at large spatial scales. This divergence is prevented by vertical confinement and, in a stable configuration, by gravity. Gravity and confinement also affect the dynamics of non-equilibrium fluctuations (NEFs). In fact, small wavelength fluctuations decay diffusively, while the decay of long wavelength ones is either dominated by buoyancy or by confinement. In normal gravity, from the analysis of the dynamics one can extract the diffusion coefficients as well as other transport properties. For example, in a thermodiffusion experiment one can measure the Soret coefficient. Under microgravity, the relaxation of fluctuations occurs by diffusion only and this prevents the determination of the Soret coefficient of a binary mixture from the study of the dynamics. In this work we propose an innovative self-referencing optical method for the determination of the thermal diffusion ratio of a binary mixture that does not require previous knowledge of the temperature difference applied to the sample. The method relies on the determination of the ratio between the mean squared amplitude of concentration and temperature fluctuations. We investigate data from the GRADFLEX experiment, an experiment flown onboard the Russian satellite FOTON M3 in 2007. The investigated sample is a suspension of polystyrene polymer chains (MW=9,100g/mol, concentration 1.8wt %) in toluene, stressed by different temperature gradients. The use of a quantitative shadowgraph technique allows to perform measurements in the absence of delicate alignment and calibration procedures. The statics of the concentration and temperature NEFs are obtained and their ratio is computed. At large wave vectors the ratio becomes constant and is shown to be proportional to the thermal diffusion ratio of the sample.

31 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, a dynamic analysis of the light scattered by concentration non-equilibrium fluctuations in the binary mixture was used to obtain the mass diffusion coefficients of the mixture at each temperature and pressure.
Abstract: Thermodiffusion experiments on isomassic binary mixture of decane and pentane in the liquid phase have been performed between 25 ∘C and 50 ∘C and for pressures from 1MPa until 20MPa. By dynamic analysis of the light scattered by concentration non-equilibrium fluctuations in the binary mixture we obtained the mass diffusion coefficients of the mixture at each temperature and pressure. For the first time we were able to apply similar analysis to thermal fluctuations thus getting a simultaneous measurement of the thermal diffusivity coefficient. While mass diffusion coefficients decrease linearly with the pressure, thermal diffusivity coefficients increase linearly. In principle the proposed method can be used also for measuring the Soret coefficients at the same time. However, for the present mixture the intensity of the optical signal is limited by the optical contrast factor. This affects our capability of providing a reliable estimate of the Soret coefficient by means of dynamic Shadowgraph. Therefore the mass diffusion coefficients measurements would need to be combined with independent measurements of the thermodiffusion coefficients, e.g. thermogravitational column, to provide Soret coefficients. The obtained values constitute the on-ground reference measurements for one of the mixture studied in the frame of the project SCCO-SJ10, which aims to measure the Soret coefficients of multicomponents mixtures under reservoir conditions. Microgravity experiments will be performed on the Chinese satellite SJ10 launched in April 2016.

25 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Qi Kang1, Li Duan1, Li Zhang1, Yongli Yin, Jingsong Yang, Wen-Rui Hu1 
TL;DR: In this article, a space experiment about thermocapillary convection in an open cylindrical annuli pool will be done on SJ-10 satellite, where a payload for space experiment has been established.
Abstract: Thermocapillary convection has always been a hot topic of great importance in either crystal growth or thin films science. A space experiment about thermocapillary convection in an open cylindrical annuli pool will be done on SJ-10 satellite. A payload for space experiment has been established, which includes a cylindrical annuli thermocapillary convection system, a thermocouple temperature controlling system and measurement system, a thermal infrared imager, a high-precision displacement sensor, and an experiment controlling system. Some experiments have been done on the ground in order to compare with the results of space experiment. Some results from the ground experiment are shown, such as temperature oscillation, surface oscillation, and flow pattern transfer.

24 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors evaluated the theoretical amplitudes of the two composition modes of the refractive-index fluctuations of a ternary mixture of tetralin, isobutylbenzene and n-dodecane.
Abstract: From the benchmark values of the diffusion and thermodiffusion coefficients of the tetralin, isobutylbenzene and n-dodecane ternary mixture, and the published optical contrast factors, we have evaluated the theoretical amplitudes of the two composition modes of the refractive-index fluctuations. Shadowgraph experiments have been performed on ground, where the current theory is expected to be correct only for large wave vectors. Two decay times have been observed experimentally. The fastest one being related to the thermal diffusivity of the mixture, while the slower one to mass diffusion. Hence, it has not been possible to distinguish the two eigenvalues of the mass diffusion matrix, a problem also encountered in traditional light-scattering with ternary mixtures of similar-size molecules. Thus, to compare the measured Intermediate Scattering Function with theory, we fix the amplitudes and decay rates to the benchmark values, use the wave number as a fitting parameter, and compare it to the experimental wave number. The good agreement between theory and experiments for the larger wave numbers validates the theory developed for the microgravity conditions.

23 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, a series of three-dimensional numerical simulations were performed to understand the characteristics of pure solutocapillary flow in a shallow annular pool subjected to a constant radial solutal gradient.
Abstract: In order to understand the characteristics of pure solutocapillary flow in a shallow annular pool subjected to a constant radial solutal gradient, a series of three-dimensional numerical simulations were performed. The annular pool was filled with the toluene/n-hexane mixture fluid with the Schmidt number of 142.8. The inner and outer cylinders were respectively maintained at low and high solutal concentrations. Aspect ratio of the annular pool is fixed at e = 0.15 or 0.05. Results indicate that the solutocapillary flow is steady and axisymmetric at a small solutal capillary Reynolds number. The surface fluid flows radially from the inner cylinder toward the outer cylinder and a return flow exists near the bottom. With the increase of the solutal capillary Reynolds number, an axisymmetric oscillatory flow firstly appears and then becomes a three-dimensional oscillatory flow at e = 0.15. Whereas at e = 0.05 a direct transition from the steady and axisymmetric flow to the three-dimensional oscillatory flow is observed. Three types of the flow instabilities are the standing wave, hydrosolutal wave and source/sink type wave instabilities. Furthermore, the physical mechanism of the flow destabilization is analyzed.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the effects of gravity, electric field intensity, fluid permittivity, and bubble initial position on the bubble detachment and rising are investigated and analyzed using a three-dimensional VOSET method along with the adaptive mesh refinement (AMR).
Abstract: A three-dimensional VOSET method is used along with the adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) method to simulate the behaviors of a bubble departing from the outside wall of a horizontal square-cross-section tube in microgravity under the influence of nonuniform electric fields. The effects of gravity, electric field intensity, fluid permittivity, and bubble initial position on the bubble detachment and rising are investigated and analyzed. Computational results show that the gravity and electric fields have significant influences on the bubble detachment and rising velocity and rising trajectory. Decrease in gravity results in the decrease in the buoyancy exerted on the bubble, considerably mitigating the rising capability of the bubble and delaying the bubble detachment. Imposing a nonuniform electric field, which exhibits physically the strongest intensity in regions near the tube wall, can supply an additional driving force as a replacement of the buoyancy to accelerate the bubble detachment and rising. It is also shown that a larger electric field intensity or larger ratio of liquid permittivity to gas permittivity leads to a larger deformation, easier detachment, and larger rising velocity, of the bubble. The nonuniformity of the electric fields can also affect the bubble motion trajectory and result in the asymmetric deformation of the bubble.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors investigated flame spread and extinction over a PMMA in purely opposed and concurrent flows by conducting systematical experiments in a narrow channel apparatus and found that the opposed flame is much faster than the concurrent flame at a given flow velocity.
Abstract: Flame spread and extinction phenomena over a thick PMMA in purely opposed and concurrent flows are investigated by conducting systematical experiments in a narrow channel apparatus. The present tests focus on low-velocity flow regime and hence complement experimental data previously reported for high and moderate velocity regimes. In the flow velocity range tested, the opposed flame is found to spread much faster than the concurrent flame at a given flow velocity. The measured spread rates for opposed and concurrent flames can be correlated by corresponding theoretical models of flame spread, indicating that existing models capture the main mechanisms controlling the flame spread. In low-velocity gas flows, however, the experimental results are observed to deviate from theoretical predictions. This may be attributed to the neglect of radiative heat loss in the theoretical models, whereas radiation becomes important for low-intensity flame spread. Flammability limits using oxygen concentration and flow velocity as coordinates are presented for both opposed and concurrent flame spread configurations. It is found that concurrent spread has a wider flammable range than opposed case. Beyond the flammability boundary of opposed spread, there is an additional flammable area for concurrent spread, where the spreading flame is sustainable in concurrent mode only. The lowest oxygen concentration allowing concurrent flame spread in forced flow is estimated to be approximately 14 % O-2, substantially below that for opposed spread (18.5 % O-2).

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Thyroid cells cultured under conditions of simulated microgravity and in Space showed similar changes with respect to spheroid formation and changes in the regulation of cytokines are discussed to be involved in MCS (multicellular spheroids) formation.
Abstract: The ground-based facilities 2D clinostat (CN) and Random Positioning Machine (RPM) were designed to simulate microgravity conditions on Earth. With support of the CORA-ESA-GBF program we could use both facilities to investigate the impact of simulated microgravity on normal and malignant thyroid cells. In this review we report about the current knowledge of thyroid cancer cells and normal thyrocytes grown under altered gravity conditions with a special focus on growth behaviour, changes in the gene expression pattern and protein content, as well as on altered secretion behaviour of the cells. We reviewed data obtained from normal thyrocytes and cell lines (two poorly differentiated follicular thyroid cancer cell lines FTC-133 and ML-1, as well as the normal thyroid cell lines Nthy-ori 3-1 and HTU-5). Thyroid cells cultured under conditions of simulated microgravity (RPM and CN) and in Space showed similar changes with respect to spheroid formation. In static 1g control cultures no spheroids were detectable. Changes in the regulation of cytokines are discussed to be involved in MCS (multicellular spheroids) formation. The ESA-GBF program helps the scientists to prepare future spaceflight experiments and furthermore, it might help to identify targets for drug therapy against thyroid cancer.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the task of estimating microaccelerations caused by natural oscillations of big elastic elements after impulse firing of an orientation system engine is addressed, which can be applied for taking a decision about appropriateness of one or another process on the board of spacecraft.
Abstract: The article deals with the task to estimate microaccelerations caused by natural oscillations of big elastic elements after impulse firing of an orientation system engine. Offered estimation is useful for development of space-system engineering intended for realization of gravity-sensitive processes. It can be applied for taking a decision about appropriateness of one or another process on the board of spacecraft.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the role of gravity on the shape of interfacial waves between miscible liquids under horizontal vibrations is discussed and the evolution of an interfacial pattern from zero to normal gravity is discussed in the context of nonlinear simulations in a confined system.
Abstract: This work discusses the role of gravity on the shape of interfacial waves between miscible liquids under horizontal vibrations. A big difference in the shape of an interfacial pattern has recently been observed in low-gravity experiments when compared to earth-based one. The evolution of an interfacial pattern from zero to normal gravity is discussed in the context of non-linear simulations in a confined system. The development of vibration-induced frozen waves with gravity is characterized by three distinct regimes that are associated with the wave height and the angle at the vertices of saw-tooth shape of the interface.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Cell cultures of the plant model organism Arabidopsis thaliana were exposed to partial-g forces during parabolic flight and clinostat experiments and the potential threshold acceleration for the gravity-dependent response showed that the smaller the experienced g-force, the greater was the susceptibility of the cell cultures.
Abstract: Cell cultures of the plant model organism Arabidopsis thaliana were exposed to partial-g forces during parabolic flight and clinostat experiments (0.16 g, 0.38 g and 0.5 g were tested). In order to investigate gravity-dependent alterations in gene expression, samples were metabolically quenched by the fixative RNAlater Ⓡ to stabilize nucleic acids and used for whole-genome microarray analysis. An attempt to identify the potential threshold acceleration for the gravity-dependent response showed that the smaller the experienced g-force, the greater was the susceptibility of the cell cultures. Compared to short-term μ g during a parabolic flight, the number of differentially expressed genes under partial-g was lower. In addition, the effect on the alteration of amounts of transcripts decreased during partial-g parabolic flight due to the sequence of the different parabolas (0.38 g, 0.16 g and μ g). A time-dependent analysis under simulated 0.5 g indicates that adaptation occurs within minutes. Differentially expressed genes (at least 2-fold up- or down-regulated in expression) under real flight conditions were to some extent identical with those affected by clinorotation. The highest number of homologuous genes was detected within seconds of exposure to 0.38 g (both flight and clinorotation). To a considerable part, these genes deal with cell wall properties. Additionally, responses specific for clinorotation were observed.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The DLR Cologne Space and Space Simulation Facility (PSI) as mentioned in this paper is a simulation facility where microorganisms from extreme terrestrial environments or known for their high adaptability are exposed for mechanistic studies.
Abstract: Astrobiology strives to increase our knowledge on the origin, evolution and distribution of life, on Earth and beyond. In the past centuries, life has been found on Earth in environments with extreme conditions that were expected to be uninhabitable. Scientific investigations of the underlying metabolic mechanisms and strategies that lead to the high adaptability of these extremophile organisms increase our understanding of evolution and distribution of life on Earth. Life as we know it depends on the availability of liquid water. Exposure of organisms to defined and complex extreme environmental conditions, in particular those that limit the water availability, allows the investigation of the survival mechanisms as well as an estimation of the possibility of the distribution to and survivability on other celestial bodies of selected organisms. Space missions in low Earth orbit (LEO) provide access for experiments to complex environmental conditions not available on Earth, but studies on the molecular and cellular mechanisms of adaption to these hostile conditions and on the limits of life cannot be performed exclusively in space experiments. Experimental space is limited and allows only the investigation of selected endpoints. An additional intensive ground based program is required, with easy to access facilities capable to simulate space and planetary environments, in particular with focus on temperature, pressure, atmospheric composition and short wavelength solar ultraviolet radiation (UV). DLR Cologne operates a number of Planetary and Space Simulation facilities (PSI) where microorganisms from extreme terrestrial environments or known for their high adaptability are exposed for mechanistic studies. Space or planetary parameters are simulated individually or in combination in temperature controlled vacuum facilities equipped with a variety of defined and calibrated irradiation sources. The PSI support basic research and were recurrently used for pre-flight test programs for several astrobiological space missions. Parallel experiments on ground provided essential complementary data supporting the scientific interpretation of the data received from the space missions.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The results demonstrate that 2-D clinostats equipped with interchangeable growth chambers and tunable rotation velocity are suitable for studying how plants perceive and respond to simulated microgravity.
Abstract: Ground-based simulators of microgravity such as fast rotating 2-D clinostats are valuable tools to study gravity related processes. We describe here a versatile g-value-adjustable 2-D clinostat that is suitable for plant analysis. To avoid seedling adaptation to 1 g after clinorotation, we designed chambers that allow rapid fixation. A detailed protocol for fixation, RNA isolation and the analysis of selected genes is described. Using this clinostat we show that mRNA levels of LONG HYPOCOTYL 5 (HY5), MIZU-KUSSEI 1 (MIZ1) and microRNA MIR163 are down-regulated in 5-day-old Arabidopsis thaliana roots after 3 min and 6 min of clinorotation using a maximal reduced g-force of 0.02 g, hence demonstrating that this 2-D clinostat enables the characterization of early transcriptomic events during root response to microgravity. We further show that this 2-D clinostat is able to compensate the action of gravitational force as both gravitropic-dependent statolith sedimentation and subsequent auxin redistribution (monitoring D R5 r e v ::G F P reporter) are abolished when plants are clinorotated. Our results demonstrate that 2-D clinostats equipped with interchangeable growth chambers and tunable rotation velocity are suitable for studying how plants perceive and respond to simulated microgravity.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors measured the thermodiffusion coefficients by means of density analysis using the thermogravitational column technique from 5 wt % to 50 Wt % at 25∘C.
Abstract: The difficulty of measuring the thermodiffusion coefficients by optical properties of water-ethanol binary mixtures of approximately 20 wt % of water has been highlighted by several authors in recent years. This is because the concentration derivative of the refractive index (∂ n/∂ c) p,T is near zero at this concentration. For this reason, we measured the thermodiffusion coefficients by means of density analysis using the thermogravitational column technique from 5 wt % to 50 wt % at 25∘C. In addition, we measured the thermophysical properties such as density, dynamic viscosity, thermal expansion and mass expansion.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The hypothesis that the amount and stability of extracellular matrix have a great influence on the formation of three-dimensional aggregates under microgravity and the approximately 40-fold up-regulation of ISG15 strongly suggests that ISGylation, an alternative form of posttranslational modification, plays a role in longterm cultures.
Abstract: In a series of studies, human thyroid and endothelial cells exposed to real or simulated microgravity were analyzed in terms of changes in gene expression patterns or protein content. Due to the limitation of available cells in many space research experiments, comparative and control experiments had to be done in a serial manner. Therefore, detected genes or proteins were annotated with gene names and SwissProt numbers, in order to allow searches for interconnections between results obtained in different experiments by different methods. A crosscheck of several studies on the behavior of cytoskeletal genes and proteins suggested that clusters of cytoskeletal components change differently under the influence of microgravity and/or vibration in different cell types. The result that LOX and ISG15 gene expression were clearly altered during the Shenzhou-8 spaceflight mission could be estimated by comparison with the results of other experiments. The more than 100-fold down-regulation of LOX supports our hypothesis that the amount and stability of extracellular matrix have a great influence on the formation of three-dimensional aggregates under microgravity. The approximately 40-fold up-regulation of ISG15 cannot yet be explained in detail, but strongly suggests that ISGylation, an alternative form of posttranslational modification, plays a role in longterm cultures.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors report on different research and educational activities related to parabolic flights conducted in Barcelona since 2008, using a CAP10B single-engine aerobatic aircraft flying out of Sabadell Airport and operating in visual flight conditions.
Abstract: We report on different research and educational activities related to parabolic flights conducted in Barcelona since 2008. We use a CAP10B single-engine aerobatic aircraft flying out of Sabadell Airport and operating in visual flight conditions providing up to 8 seconds of hypogravity for each parabola. Aside from biomedical experiments being conducted, different student teams have flown in parabolic flights in the framework of the international contest ‘Barcelona Zero-G Challenge’, and have published their results in relevant symposiums and scientific journals. The platform can certainly be a good testbed for a proof-of-concept before accessing other microgravity platforms, and has proved to be excellent for motivational student campaigns.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is concluded that the use of magnetic levitation as a simulated microgravity GBF for cell suspension cultures is not recommended and a technical discussion in the context of validation of proper conditions to achieve true cell levitation inside a levitating droplet is provided.
Abstract: Ground-Based Facilities (GBF) are essetial tools to understand the physical and biological effects of the absence of gravity and they are necessary to prepare and complement space experiments. It has been shown previously that a real microgravity environment induces the dissociation of cell proliferation from cell growth in seedling root meristems, which are limited populations of proliferating cells. Plant cell cultures are large and homogeneous populations of proliferating cells, so that they are a convenient model to study the effects of altered gravity on cellular mechanisms regulating cell proliferation and associated cell growth. Cell suspension cultures of the Arabidopsis thaliana cell line MM2d were exposed to four altered gravity and magnetic field environments in a magnetic levitation facility for 3 hours, including two simulated microgravity and Mars-like gravity levels obtained with different magnetic field intensities. Samples were processed either by quick freezing, to be used in flow cytometry for cell cycle studies, or by chemical fixation for microscopy techniques to measure parameters of the nucleolus. Although the trend of the results was the same as those obtained in real microgravity on meristems (increased cell proliferation and decreased cell growth), we provide a technical discussion in the context of validation of proper conditions to achieve true cell levitation inside a levitating droplet. We conclude that the use of magnetic levitation as a simulated microgravity GBF for cell suspension cultures is not recommended.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, a set of two-dimensional numerical simulations using level set method for thermo-solutocapillary convection in a rectangular cavity is conducted, and the effects of Marangoni number, Lewis number, Capillary number, aspect ratio and Prandtl number on the free surface evolution are analyzed.
Abstract: In order to understand the characteristics of free surface evolution in thermo-solutocapillary convection formation, a set of two-dimensional numerical simulations is conducted using level set method for thermo-solutocapillary convection in a rectangular cavity. The opposing thermocapillary effects equivalent to solutocapillary effects is considered. The computational results show that, the vortices first appear at the right side and travel to the left side gradually, and the flow field forms two comparable size vortices at final state. Meanwhile, the free surface deformation first increases and then decreases, and finally keeps a small constant deformation. Moreover, the effects of Marangoni number, Lewis number, Capillary number, aspect ratio and Prandtl number on the free surface evolution are analyzed.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, a series of three-dimensional numerical simulations were carried out to understand the characteristics of thermocapillary flow of a toluene/n-hexane mixture with the Soret effect in a shallow annular pool.
Abstract: In order to understand the characteristics of thermocapillary flow of a toluene/n-hexane mixture with the Soret effect in a shallow annular pool, a series of three-dimensional numerical simulations were carried out. The shallow annular pool was heated from the outer cylinder and cooled at the inner cylinder. The initial toluene concentration in the toluene/n-hexane mixture varied from 0 to 0.4467. Results indicate that the flow undergoes two transitions from the axisymmetric steady flow to the hydrothermal waves, and then to chaos with the increase of the thermocapillary Reynolds number. The critical thermocapillary Reynolds number for the incipience of the oscillatory flow decreases with the increase of the initial solute concentration. When the thermocapillary flow transits to a three-dimensional oscillatory flow, a concentration fluctuation is observed on the free surface, which is similar to the hydrothermal waves. However, compared with that of the temperature, the dimensionless fluctuation amplitude of the concentration is relatively weak. Furthermore, the fundamental oscillation frequency increases linearly with the initial solute concentration, but the wave number of the hydrothermal waves is almost unchangeable.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, a hybrid two-phase model, incorporating lattice Boltzmann method (LBM) and finite difference method (FDM), was developed to investigate the coalescence of two drops during their thermocapillary migration.
Abstract: A hybrid two-phase model, incorporating lattice Boltzmann method (LBM) and finite difference method (FDM), was developed to investigate the coalescence of two drops during their thermocapillary migration. The lattice Boltzmann method with a multi-relaxation-time (MRT) collision model was applied to solve the flow field for incompressible binary fluids, and the method was implemented in an axisymmetric form. The deformation of the drop interface was captured with the phase-field theory, and the continuum surface force model (CSF) was adopted to introduce the surface tension, which depends on the temperature. Both phase-field equation and the energy equation were solved with the finite difference method. The effects of Marangoni number and Capillary numbers on the drop’s motion and coalescence were investigated.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The experiments enabled by the ESA-CORA-GBF programme gave the optimal opportunity to study gravity-related cellular processes, validate ground-based facilities for the chosen cell system, and prepare long-term experiments under real microgravity conditions in space.
Abstract: Investigations under simulated microgravity offer the opportunity for a better understanding of the influence of altered gravity on cells and the scaffold-free three-dimensional (3D) tissue formation. To investigate the short-term influence, human chondrocytes were cultivated for 2 h, 4 h, 16 h, and 24 h on a 2D Fast-Rotating Clinostat (FRC) in DMEM/F-12 medium supplemented with 10 % FCS. We detected holes in the vimentin network, perinuclear accumulations of vimentin after 2 h, and changes in the chondrocytes shape visualised by F-actin staining after 4 h of FRC-exposure. Scaffold-free cultivation of chondrocytes for 7 d on the Random Positioning Machine (RPM), the FRC and the Rotating Wall Vessel (RWV) resulted in spheroid formation, a phenomenon already known from spaceflight experiments with chondrocytes (MIR Space Station) and thyroid cancer cells (SimBox/Shenzhou-8 space mission). The experiments enabled by the ESA-CORA-GBF programme gave us an optimal opportunity to study gravity-related cellular processes, validate ground-based facilities for our chosen cell system, and prepare long-term experiments under real microgravity conditions in space

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the average flow generation near curved interface with a surfactant adsorbed on the surface layer was investigated for a liquid drop embedded in a viscous liquid with a different density.
Abstract: The present work is devoted to the average flow generation near curved interface with a surfactant adsorbed on the surface layer. The investigation was carried out for a liquid drop embedded in a viscous liquid with a different density. The liquid flows inside and outside the drop are generated by small amplitude and high frequency vibrations. Surfactant exchange between the drop surface and the surrounding liquid is limited by the process of adsorption-desorption. It was assumed that the surfactant is soluble in the surrounding liquid, but not soluble in the liquid drop. Surrounding liquid and the liquid in the drop are considered incompressible. Normal and shear viscous stresses balance at the interface is performed under the condition that the film thickness of the adsorbed surfactant is negligible. The problem is solved under assumption that the shape of the drop in the presence of adsorbed surfactant remains spherical symmetry. The effective boundary conditions for the tangential velocity jump and shear stress jump, describing the above generation have been obtained by matched asymptotic expansions method. The conditions under which the drop surface can be considered as a quasi-solid are determined. It is shown that in the case of the significant effect of surfactant on the surface tension, the dominant mechanism for the generation is the Schlichting mechanisms under vibrations.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, an integrated micro heater has been developed to study local convection and heat transfer around an isolated growing vapor bubble during nucleate pool boiling on a well characterized flat surface in microgravity.
Abstract: Focusing on partial nucleate pool boiling at low heat flux, SOBER-SJ10, one of 27 experiments of the program SJ-10, has been proposed to study local convection and heat transfer around an isolated growing vapor bubble during nucleate pool boiling on a well characterized flat surface in microgravity. An integrated micro heater has been developed. By using a local pulse overheating method in the experimental mode of single bubble boiling, a bubble nucleus can be excited with accurate spatial and temporal positioning on the top-side of a quartz glass substrate with a thickness of 2 mm and an effective heating area of 4.5 mm in diameter, and then grows under an approximate constant heat input provided by the main heater on the back-side of the substrate. Ten thin film micro-RTDs are used for local temperature measurements on the heating surface underneath the growing bubble. Normal pool boiling experiments can also be carried out with step-by-step increase of heating voltage. A series of ground test of the flight module of SOBER-SJ10 have been conducted. Good agreement of the measured data of single phase natural convection with the common-used empirical correlation warrants reasonable confidence in the data. It is found that the values of the incipience superheat of pool boiling at different subcooling are consistent with each others, verifying that the influence of subcooling on boiling incipience can be neglected. Pool boiling curves are also obtained, which shows great influence of subcooling on heat transfer of partial nucleate pool boiling, particularly in lower heat flux.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors deal with problem to improve accuracy of micro acceleration data estimated by board gauges by the example of a spacecraft with very elliptical orbit and discuss impartial difficulties of estimation in different parts of the elliptical orbits.
Abstract: This article deals with problem to improve accuracy of microacceleration’s data estimated by board gauges by the example of a spacecraft with very elliptical orbit. There are discussed impartial difficulties of estimation in different parts of the elliptical orbit.