A COLOR SCHLIEREN SYSTEM FOR LARGE SCALE LOW-GRAVITY MPS FLUIDS EXPERIMENTS

Period of Performance: 01/01/1986 - 12/31/1986

$250K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

System Specialists, Inc.
3125 East 47th St
Tucson, AZ 85713
Principal Investigator

Abstract

A NUMBER OF LOW GRAVITY MATERIALS PROCESSING EXPERIMENTS SUCH AS CRYSTAL GROWTH STUDIES REQUIRE A SPECIALIZED OPTICAL SYSTEM CAPABLE OF FLOW VISUALIZATION. SEVERAL SUCH SYSTEMS HAVE BEEN BUILT FOR USE IN SPACE AND BALLISTIC AIRCRAFT FLIGHTS, INCLUDING SCHLIEREN SYSTEMS. HOWEVER, NO COLOR SCHLIEREN SYSTEM HAS BEEN DEVELOPED FOR THESE APPLICATIONS. A COLOR SCHLIEREN SYSTEM PRODUCES DATA MORE AMENABLE TO DETAILED ANALYSIS THAN A STANDARD SCHLIEREN SYSTEM, AND SINCE WHITE LIGHT SOURCES ARE MORE ENERGY-EFFICIENT THAN LASERS, IT SHOULD BE POSSIBLE WITH THIS SYSTEM TO STUDY LARGER SAMPLES UNDER THE LIMITED POWER CONDITIONS OF FLIGHT THAN HAS BEEN POSSIBLE WITH EARLIER SYSTEMS. THIS PROJECT THEREFORE DEVELOPS AND BUILDS A SMALL PROTOTYPE COLOR SCHLIEREN SYSTEM AND TESTS IT ON THE NASA KC-135 LOW GRAVITY SIMULATION AIRCRAFT. ITS SUITABILITY FOR MICROGRAVITY MATERIALS PROCESSING APPLICATIONS SUCH AS CRYSTAL GROWTH AND BIOLOGICAL EXPERIMENTS REQUIRING SIMPLE FLOW VISUALIZATION ARE EVALUATED, LAYING THE GROUND WORK FOR DEVELOPMENT OF A LARGE SCALE SYSTEM.