Solidification Behavior in Reduced Gravity


Reducing gravitational effects such as thermal and solutal buoyancy enables the investigation of a large range of different phenomena in materials science. Reduced-gravity experiments can isolate phenomena otherwise obscured in ground-based experiments, leading to new discoveries that can improve materials and processes here on Earth. In addition to ground-based and short-term drop tower, reduced-gravity aircraft or sounding rocket facilities, long-term experiments in microgravity have a long history, from the early days of spaceflight to current experiments on the International Space Station (ISS). The Materials Science in Reduced Gravity Symposium was conducted as part of the 145th Annual Meeting in Nashville (TMS 2016). It involved three sessions composed of 29 presentations with contributions from more than 13 countries. The sessions concentrated on three different categories of topics related to ongoing reduced-gravity research: (1) Materials Science Research Rack (MSRR), (2) Ground-based/Parabolic Aircraft/Sounding Rocket Testing, and (3) Containerless Processing. Topics included particle engulfment, directional solidification, sintering, coarsening, influence of convection on solute and heat transport, metastable phase formation, phase selection, thermophysical property measurement, modeling activities for experiment control, and visualization of microstructural evolution. The symposium was sponsored by the TMS Materials Processing and Manufacturing Division and the TMS Solidification Committee. Although five papers were published as part of the TMS Supplemental Proceedings, the TMS Solidification Committee commissioned the organizers to produce a special topic for JOM to highlight the accomplishments from the meeting. These papers represent a broad summary of some of the exciting new solidification processing activities currently underway on the ground and in space to support reduced-gravity experiments.


Materials Science and Engineering


Funding was provided by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Grant No. NNX16AB59G).

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1047-4838; 1543-1851

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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Publication Date

01 Aug 2017