Tag Archives: drops (liquids)

Utilization of Low Gravity Environment for Measuring Liquid Viscosity

The method of drop coalescence is used for determining the viscosity of highly viscous undercooled liquids. Low gravity environment is necessary in order to allow for examining large volumes affording much higher accuracy for the viscosity calculations than possible for smaller volumes available under 1 – g conditions. The drop coalescence method is preferred over the drop oscillation technique since the latter method can only be applied for liquids with vanishingly small viscosities. The technique developed relies on both the highly accurate solution of the Navier-Stokes equations as well as on data from experiments conducted in near zero gravity environment. Results are presented for method validation experiments recently performed on board the NASA/KC-135 aircraft. While the numerical solution was produced using the Boundary Element Method. In these tests the viscosity of a highly viscous liquid, glycerine at room temperature, was determined using the liquid coalescence method. The results from these experiments will be discussed.

Viscosity Measurement of Highly Viscous Liquids Using Drop Coalescence in Low Gravity

The method of drop coalescence is being investigated for use as a method for determining the viscosity of highly viscous undercooled liquids. Low gravity environment is necessary in this case to minimize the undesirable effects of body forces and liquid motion in levitated drops. Also, the low gravity environment will allow for investigating large liquid volumes which can lead to much higher accuracy for the viscosity calculations than possible under 1 – g conditions. The drop coalescence method is preferred over the drop oscillation technique since the latter method can only be applied for liquids with vanishingly small viscosities. The technique developed relies on both the highly accurate solution of the Navier-Stokes equations as well as on data from experiments conducted in near zero gravity environment. In the analytical aspect of the method two liquid volumes are brought into contact which will coalesce under the action of surface tension alone. The free surface geometry development as well as its velocity during coalescence which are obtained from numerical computations are compared with an analogous experimental model. The viscosity in the numerical computations is then adjusted to bring into agreement of the experimental results with the calculations. The true liquid viscosity is the one which brings the experiment closest to the calculations. Results are presented for method validation experiments performed recently on board the NASA/KC-135 aircraft. The numerical solution for this validation case was produced using the Boundary Element Method. In these tests the viscosity of a highly viscous liquid, in this case glycerine at room temperature, was determined to high degree of accuracy using the liquid coalescence method. These experiments gave very encouraging results which will be discussed together with plans for implementing the method in a shuttle flight experiment.

Fluid Merging Viscosity Measurement (FMVM) Experiment on the International Space Station

The concept of using low gravity experimental data together with fluid dynamical numerical simulations for measuring the viscosity of highly viscous liquids was recently validated on the International Space Station (ISS). After testing the proof of concept for this method with parabolic flight experiments, an ISS experiment was proposed and later conducted onboard the ISS in July, 2004 and subsequently in May of 2005. In that experiment a series of two liquid drops were brought manually together until they touched and then were allowed to merge under the action of capillary forces alone. The merging process was recorded visually in order to measure the contact radius speed as the merging proceeded. Several liquids were tested and for each liquid several drop diameters were used. It has been shown that when the coefficient of surface tension for the liquid is known, the contact radius speed can then determine the coefficient of viscosity for that liquid. The viscosity is determined by fitting the experimental speed to theoretically calculated contact radius speed for the same experimental parameters. Experimental and numerical results will be presented in which the viscosity of different highly viscous liquids were determined, to a high degree of accuracy, using this technique.

Results of the Fluid Merging Viscosity Measurement International Space Station Experiment

The purpose of FMVM is to measure the rate of coalescence of two highly viscous liquid drops and correlate the results with the liquid viscosity and surface tension. The experiment takes advantage of the low gravitational free floating conditions in space to permit the unconstrained coalescence of two nearly spherical drops. The merging of the drops is accomplished by deploying them from a syringe and suspending them on Nomex threads followed by the astronaut s manipulation of one of the drops toward a stationary droplet till contact is achieved. Coalescence and merging occurs due to shape relaxation and reduction of surface energy, being resisted by the viscous drag within the liquid. Experiments were conducted onboard the International Space Station in July of 2004 and subsequently in May of 2005. The coalescence was recorded on video and down-linked near real-time. When the coefficient of surface tension for the liquid is known, the increase in contact radius can be used to determine the coefficient of viscosity for that liquid. The viscosity is determined by fitting the experimental speed to theoretically calculated contact radius speed for the same experimental parameters. Recent fluid dynamical numerical simulations of the coalescence process will be presented. The results are important for a better understanding of the coalescence process. The experiment is also relevant to liquid phase sintering, free form in-situ fabrication, and as a potential new method for measuring the viscosity of viscous glass formers at low shear rates.