Microgravity Science and Technology

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 185–194 | Cite as

Heat Transfer in the Samples Solidified in Drop Tubes

  • Edson F. Fumachi
  • Rafael C. ToledoEmail author
  • Plínio I. G. Tenório
  • Chen Y. An
  • Irajá N. Bandeira
Original Article


Drop tubes are one of the most suitable and low cost options to provide a microgravity environment. The study of heat transfer during the free fall of alloy droplets is important to optimize the materials solidification conditions in drop tubes. In this paper the influence of the temperature gradient inside a drop tube using models of heat transfer by convection alone and by convection plus radiation was investigated and applied to the solidification of BiSn eutectic alloys in a 3.5 m length drop tube installed at Associate Laboratory of Sensors and Materials located at Brazilian Space Research Institute (LABAS/INPE). The study showed that the heat transfer model by convection plus radiation obtained better results when compared with experimental data. Besides, the model findings help to predict if the droplet will fully solidify before reaching the end of the drop tube. This is a very important data for short length drop tubes.


Microgravity Drop tube Heat transfer 



The author Toledo is grateful to the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) for the scholarship of the Brazilian Postdoctoral Program (PNPD).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Associate Laboratory of Sensors and MaterialsBrazilian Space Research InstituteSão José dos CamposBrazil

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