July 20, 2004 NASA ISS Science Officer Mike Fincke began working with the Fluid Merging Viscosity (FMVM) experiment. This physical science experiment is studying viscosity -- a property of fluids that causes them to resist flowing because of the internal friction created as the molecules move against each other. Understanding the viscosity of fluids is important for everything from designing laboratory experiments to industrial production of materials.
One way to determine viscosity is to measure how long it takes two spheres of liquid to merge into a single spherical drop. Fincke used fluids with known viscosities such as corn syrup, glycerin and silicone oil, and released two drops of one of the fluids from a syringe onto strings. Digital images of the drops were recorded as they coalesced to form one drop.
Researchers hope data from FMVM will provide insight into the behavior of glasses -- materials that may be used to fabricate parts or equipment for long-term space missions and improve future materials processing experiments carried out in space and on Earth.
Fincke also completed the Viscous Liquid Foam - Bulk Metallic Glass (Foam) experiment. This experiment studies viscosity and the foaming of material in space. Better measurements of viscosity and a better understanding of foaming will help investigators improve a variety of materials used for everything from medical to industrial processing.
Fincke also set up the Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students (EarthKAM) hardware for another run, this time in the Node because the Lab window is unavailable. EarthKAM is available for students who submit image requests and conduct geographic research. The requests are uplinked in a camera control file to a laptop computer which then activates an onboard digital camera at specified times and receives the digital images for subsequent downlink.
NASA's payload operations team at the Marshall Center coordinates science activities on Space Station.
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