Mushy-layer dynamics in micro and hyper gravity

Peer Reviewed

O'Rourke JG, Riggs AJE, Guertler CA, Miller PW, Padhi CM, Popelka MM, Wells AJ, West AC, Zhong J-Q, & Wettlaufer JS

Physics of Fluids 24, pages 103305, 2012, 10.1063/1.4760256.

We describe the results of experiments on mushy layers grown from aqueous ammonium chloride solution in normal, micro, and hyper gravity environments. In the fully developed chimney state, the chimney plume dynamics differ strikingly when conditions change from micro to hyper gravity. In microgravity, we find fully arrested plume motion and suppressed convection.As gravity exceeds Earth conditions, we observe a host of phenomena, ranging from arched plumes that undergo forced Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities to in-phase multiple plume oscillatory behavior. For the same initial solute concentrations and fixed boundary cooling temperatures, we find that, in runs of over two hours, the averaged effects of microgravity and hypergravity result in suppressed growth of the mushy layers, a phenomenon caused by a net enhancement of convective heat and solute transport from the liquid to the mushy layers. These behaviors are placed in the context of the theory of convecting mushy layers as studied under normal laboratory conditions.

Keywords: Microgravity, Solid solutions, Convection, Solidification, Solution processes
Categories: Antarctic, Arctic, Natural Science