university of minnesota
University of Minnesota
Department of Aerospace Engineering
and the
NASA Reduced Gravity Student
Flight Opportunities Program

2003 Fluids Micro-Gravity Team

The NASA RGSFOP provides undergraduate college students and opportunity to formulate and conduct a research experiment in a micro-gravity environment.  The University of Minnesota has participated in this program for the past three years and currently has two active teams studying both fluid and solid mechanics.  Dr. Ellen Longmire, an associate faculty member of the AEM Department is advising the Fluids Micro-Gravity Team.

Study of Droplet Coalescence Criteria of a Liquid/Liquid
Interface in Micro- and Macro-Gravity Conditions

The criteria for coalescence of two droplets colliding in a liquid-liquid interface will be studied in micro- and macro-gravity conditions.  Previous experiments in this subject have used droplet sizes with diameters on the order of microns to justify the assumption that buoyancy forces were negligible.  For this experiment the ability to perform the collisions in a zero gravity environment creates a unique opportunity to analyze the criteria for coalescence on a macroscopic scale.  With buoyancy forces not present, the properties of droplet collision and coalescence are defined only by their size, relative velocity and position at impact.  Variations of these parameters will be studied to determine when coalescence occurs.

Experiment Proposal

Test Equipment Data Package (TEDP)
Final Report

Experiment Tank and Frame
Nathan with experiment
Maria and Kim with Experiment
Matt with experiment

Project Dates

September 30, 2002
Letter of Intent Due
October 18, 2002
Proposal Due
December 6, 2002
Program Selectees Anounced
January 31, 2003
Test Equipment Data Package Due
March 13-22, 2003
Travel to Houston - Flight Week

March 13

Safety and Program Orientation

March 14

Physiological Training

March 17

Test Readiness Review (TRR)

March 18

Load Experiment onto KC-135

March 19

First Flight Day

March 20

Second Flight Day

March 21

Unload Experiment from KC-135
June 15, 2003
Final Report Due

Related Websites:

NASA Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities
Department of Aerospace Engineering University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota Solids Microgravity Team
Dr. Ellen Longmire - Biography

Team photo
Team Biographies

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last updated 2/13/03