, Volume 21, Issue 1-2, pp 41-46
Date: 15 Jul 2008

Iron Burning in Pressurised Oxygen Under Microgravity Conditions

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An investigation of cylindrical iron rods burning in pressurised oxygen under microgravity conditions is presented. It has been shown that, under similar experimental conditions, the melting rate of a burning, cylindrical iron rod is higher in microgravity than in normal gravity by a factor of 1.8 ± 0.3. This paper presents microanalysis of quenched samples obtained in a microgravity environment in a 2.0 s duration drop tower facility in Brisbane, Australia. These images indicate that the solid/liquid interface is highly convex in reduced gravity, compared to the planar geometry typically observed in normal gravity, which increases the contact area between liquid and solid phases by a factor of 1.7 ± 0.1. Thus, there is good agreement between the proportional increase in solid/liquid interface surface area and melting rate in microgravity. This indicates that the cause of the increased melting rates for cylindrical iron rods burning in microgravity is altered interfacial geometry at the solid/liquid interface.