In this paper we report on the set-up and the performance of an experiment for the investigation of flow-rate limitations in open capillary channels under low-gravity conditions (microgravity). The channels consist of two parallel plates bounded by free liquid surfaces along the open sides. In the case of steady flow the capillary pressure of the free surface balances the differential pressure between the liquid and the surrounding constant-pressure gas phase. A maximum flow rate is achieved when the adjusted volumetric flow rate exceeds a certain limit leading to a collapse of the free surfaces. The flow is convective (inertia) dominated, since the viscous forces are negligibly small compared to the convective forces. In order to investigate this type of flow an experiment aboard the sounding rocket TEXUS-41 was performed. The aim of the investigation was to achieve the profiles of the free liquid surfaces and to determine the maximum flow rate of the steady flow. For this purpose a new approach to the critical flow condition by enlarging the channel length was applied. The paper is focussed on the technical details of the experiment and gives a review of the set-up, the preparation of the flight procedures and the performance. Additionally the typical appearance of the flow indicated by the surface profiles is presented as a basis for a separate continuative discussion of the experimental results.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 22, 2007
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