Tag Archives: interfacial tension

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.

Viscosity Measurement using Drop Coalescence in Microgravity

We present in here details of a new method, using drop coalescence, for application in microgravity environment for determining the viscosity of highly viscous undercooled liquids. The method has the advantage of eliminating heterogeneous nucleation at container walls caused by crystallization of undercooled liquids during processing. Also, due to the rapidity of the measurement, homogeneous nucleation would be avoided. The technique relies on both a highly accurate solution to the Navier-Stokes equations as well as on data gathered from experiments conducted in near zero gravity environment. The liquid viscosity is determined by allowing the computed free surface shape relaxation time to be adjusted in response to the measured free surface velocity of two coalescing drops. Results are presented from two validation experiments of the method which were conducted recently on board the NASA KC-135 aircraft. In these tests the viscosity of a highly viscous liquid, such as glycerine at different temperatures, was determined to reasonable accuracy using the liquid coalescence method. The experiments measured the free surface velocity of two glycerine drops coalescing under the action of surface tension alone in low gravity environment using high speed photography. The free surface velocity was then compared with the computed values obtained from different viscosity values. The results of these experiments were found to agree reasonably well with the calculated values.

Viscosity Measurement Using Drop Coalescence in Microgravity

We present in here validation studies of a new method for application in microgravity environment which measures the viscosity of highly viscous undercooled liquids using drop coalescence. The method has the advantage of avoiding heterogeneous nucleation at container walls caused by crystallization of undercooled liquids during processing. Homogeneous nucleation can also be avoided due to the rapidity of the measurement using this method. The technique relies on measurements from experiments conducted in near zero gravity environment as well as highly accurate analytical formulation for the coalescence process. The viscosity of the liquid is determined by allowing the computed free surface shape relaxation time to be adjusted in response to the measured free surface velocity for two coalescing drops. Results are presented from two sets of validation experiments for the method which were conducted on board aircraft flying parabolic trajectories. In these tests the viscosity of a highly viscous liquid, namely glycerin, was determined at different temperatures using the drop coalescence method described in here. The experiments measured the free surface velocity of two glycerin drops coalescing under the action of surface tension alone in low gravity environment using high speed photography. The liquid viscosity was determined by adjusting the computed free surface velocity values to the measured experimental data. The results of these experiments were found to agree reasonably well with the known viscosity for the test liquid used.

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.