A number of compositions of ceramic oxide high T(sub c) superconductors were elevated for their glass formation ability by means of rapid thermal analysis during quenching, optical, and electron microscopy of the quenched samples, and with subsequent DSC measurements. Correlations between experimental measurements and the methodical composition changes identified the formulations of superconductors that can easily form glass. The superconducting material was first formed as a glass; then, with subsequent devitrification, it was formed into a bulk crystalline superconductor by a series of processing methods.
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.
The heavy metal fluoride glasses represent a class of reasonably good glass forming compositions with very unique infrared optical properties that have been of interest to researchers for 20 years. The most extensively studied glass with the most potential for practical applications is ZBLAN which contains the fluorides of zirconium, barium, lanthanum, aluminum, and sodium. It has a broad transmission range (0.3-6 um), low index of refraction (about 1.43), low dispersion, low Raleigh scattering, ultra-low thermal 2 dispersion, and potential ultra-low signal attenuation. Potential applications include fiber amplifiers, fiber optic gyroscopes, delivery systems for laser cutting, drilling and surgery, radiation resistant data links, nonlinear optical systems, and ultra-low-loss repeater-less transcontinental and transoceanic optical fiber. Potential markets for these materials are in the tens of billions of dollars per year. Optical fiber from this system possess excellent transmission characteristics in the IR, but the glass is somewhat susceptible to nucleation and crystallization. The theoretical intrinsic loss coefficient for ZBLAN at 2 microns is 0.00 1 dB/Km. Extrinsic losses, however, cause significant attenuation. The lowest loss coefficient measured is 0.7 dB/Km. This compares with the loss coefficient for fiber optic grade fused silica glass of 0.2 dB/Km. The extrinsic losses in ZBLAN have been attributed to 1) impurities which might be lowered by containerless processing and 2) to scattering from micro-crystallites that form during glass preform production or during fiber drawing.