Solidification dynamics of spherical drops in a free fall environment

  • Richard N. Grugel
  • Lucien N. Brush


Silver drops (99.9%, 4, 5, 7, and 9 mm diameter) were levitated, melted, and released to fall through Marshall Space Flight Center’s 105 meter drop tube in helium −6% hydrogen and pure argon atmospheres. By varying a drop’s initial superheat the extent of solidification prior to impact ranged from complete to none during the ∼4.6 seconds of free fall time. Comparison of the experimental observations is made with numerical solutions to a model of the heat transfer and solidification kinetics associated with cooling of the drop during free fall, particularly with regard to the fraction of liquid transformed. Analysis reveals the relative importance of the initial parameters affecting the cooling and solidification rates within the drop. A discussion of the conditions under which the actual observations deviate from the assumptions used in the model is presented.


Heat Transfer Coefficient Outer Boundary Free Fall Solidification Dynamics Spherical Drop 
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Copyright information

© Z-Tec Publishing 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard N. Grugel
    • 1
  • Lucien N. Brush
    • 2
  1. 1.Engineering Directorate MS-EM30Marshall Space Flight CenterHuntsville
  2. 2.Department of Materials Science and EngineeringUniversity of WashingtonSeattle

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