Containerless Processing of Glass Forming Melts in Space


Containerless glass forming experiments, which used a single axis acoustic levitator/furnace (SAAL), have been conducted on SPAR rocket flights, VI and VIII, and on Space Shuttle missions, STS-7 and STS-61A. Motion pictures of solid and liquid samples from the most recent experiment (STS-61A) showed that fluid melts can be successfully levitated and positioned with an acoustic field at temperatures up to 1550°C for several minutes. A ternary calcia-gallia-silica glass containerlessly melted in micro-g, provided evidence for a 2 to 3 fold increase in the tendency for glass formation in space. This is preliminary verification that heterogeneous nucleation is reduced in containerless melts. Melt homogenization for this calcia-gallia-silica melt was reasonably fast in space even with the lack of gravity-driven convection. Hot-pressing appears to be a feasible way of preparing precursor samples for use in containerless experiments in micro-g. Comparisons are made with the results of earlier containerless experiments.


Materials Science and Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Acoustics--Applications; Composite Materials; Glass Furnaces; Space Flight--Weightlessness; Space Shuttles--Zero Gravity Materials Processing; Acoustic Levitation; Calcia Gallia Silica Glass; Containerless Processing; Microgravity; Reduced Gravity Environment; Single Axis Acoustic Levitator/Furnace, Glass

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

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© 1988 National Aeronautics and Space Administration, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Oct 1988

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