Microgravity - Science and Technology

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 111–115

ARTEX — In situ observation of directional solidification of binary aluminium alloys on TEXUS


DOI: 10.1007/BF02945959

Cite this article as:
Steinbach, S. & Ratke, L. Microgravity sci. Technol. (2005) 16: 111. doi:10.1007/BF02945959


A binary Al-6wt. % Si alloy was directionally solidified during the TEXUS 39 mission to compare diffusive solidification conditions with convective ones. In addition, the operativeness of a new furnace technology ARTEX using fragile aerogels as a crucible material in microgravity was demonstrated. The TEXUS 39 sample is evaluated with regard to the processing parameters and microstructural features. A reduction of the secondary dendrite arm spacing and spacing of the interdendritic eutectic and an increase of the primary dendrite spacing is observed under microgravity compared with experiments under 1g conditions. To obtain a fundamental understanding of the influence of convections on the microstructure evolution the ARTEX facility is now equipped with a rotating magnetic field device being able to generate a controlled fluid flow in the melt during solidification. The forthcoming flight experiment ofARTEX+ on TEXUS 41 in November 2004 should lead to a direct comparison of pure diffusive growth conditions (TEXUS 39) and controlled convective conditions (TEXUS 41) using the same alloy and also to compare the results with extensive lab research.

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Space SimulationGerman Aerospace Center DLRCologneGermany