Strange Fluids Research in Space with Impacts to Space Exploration

Title: Strange Fluids Research in Space with Impacts to Space Exploration

Reporter:Prof. Mark Weislogel

                   Portland State University

Time:April 6th (Thursday) 3:00pm-5:00pm

Place:B-515, Lee Shau Kee Building of Science and Technology


We show a variety of strange low-gravity results that will make you think we are just having fun. This is true. But, because routine exposure to space is rare, our response to it remains more often one of surprise than of expectation. The video data we present dwells on a variety of curious low-g fluids observations that can trigger both fears and delights in the minds of spacecraft fluid systems designers. The flows result mostly from capillary motive force mechanisms that are ‘spontaneous,’ making them ideal candidates for consideration and exploitation in the design of systems for the passive control of mission-critical liquids in space—liquids in fuel tanks, cooling lines, plant and animal habitats, bio-processors and samplers, and many life support systems. Among other things, we focus on macro-microgravity bubbles, what problems they cause, and how advances in things as mundane as space plumbing can prove mission-enabling for the future exploration of space. 

Brief Biography:

M. Weislogel (Ph.D. M.E., Northwestern, 1996) has conducted fundamental and applied thermal/fluids research, systems analyses, and engineering research and development since 1986. He has 10 years aerospace experience working with NASA, specializing in microgravity capillary flows and phenomena leading to numerous drop tower tests, low-g aircraft campaigns, and space flight experiments aboard the Space Shuttles, Russian Mir Space Station, and the International Space Station. He has 4 years’ experience in industry designing lightweight carbon structures, passive cooling cycles, and large length scale capillary systems. Weislogel currently has joint appointments as Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Portland State University since 2001 and Vice President/Sr. Scientist of IRPI LLC since 2012. His research interests continue to focus on macroscale and microscale capillary-driven flows in complex geometries, passive cooling systems, microscale thermal devices, microgravity fluid mechanics, and capillary biofluidics for terrestrial as well as space applications. Weislogel has over 90 publications and 6 patents. The construction of a high performance 2.1s drop tower on the Portland State campus has led to highly accelerated research in that facility where over 1,000 drop tests are conducted annually, over 7,550 supervised by Weislogel to date. A current applied research focus of his team is shared between discovery and increased Technology Readiness Level fluids systems development for spacecraft life support.