Space-DRUMS is based on the DRUMS device (Dynamically Responding Ultrasonic Matrix System), originally developed by Professor Jacques Yves Guigné, Chief Scientist of GIL (now with PanGeo Subsea Inc) to survey the sea floor using sonar.
With participation from Professor Nick Pace from the University of Bath’s Department of Physics, and aerospace industrial associates of GIL, Professor Guigné has adapted the system to enable scientists to produce new materials in zero-gravity without using a container.
Professor Guigné, who gained his PhD at Bath and is now a Visiting Professor in the University’s Department of Physics, explained: “Space-DRUMS uses beams of sound energy to position solids or liquids which are floating in zero-gravity.
“If you’ve ever been to a really loud rock concert and stood in front of the speakers, you can actually feel the force of the sound when they turn up the volume. Space-DRUMS works like this but on a much gentler scale – the beams of sound energy work like invisible fingers that gently push the sample into the centre of the container so that it doesn’t touch the walls.
“Space-DRUMS uses 20 of these ‘fingers of sound’ arranged within a dodecahedron configured reactor such that the positions of the samples can be adjusted accurately.
“This method of acoustic levitation means there is no chemical contamination from the container, which is vital for making ultra-pure materials such as temperature-resistant ceramics used in coatings for planes and engines.”
The equipment was initially tested in a low-gravity environment created by the vertical climbing and nose-diving flight path of a KC135 aeroplane, nick-named the vomit comet, similar to that used to train astronauts.
Space-DRUMS was launched into space in partnership with NASA and installed on the International Space Station on 14 November, coinciding with the International Space Station’s 10th anniversary celebrations. The final components will be sent into orbit in July 2009, with experiments starting shortly afterwards.
Professor Nick Pace said: “We are delighted that this key step has been achieved; we have waited several years to witness this milestone.
“The most exciting thing is that we can control the experiments from Earth. Our physics students will be able to use it as part of their final year projects – there aren’t many universities that can offer their students a chance to conduct experiments in space!”
In addition to making new materials, Space-DRUMS will also be used to study the physics of turbulence, which has diverse applications such as predicting the paths of hurricanes and helping biopharmaceutical studies.
Deputy Director of the Centre for Space, Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences at Bath, Dr Philippe Blondel explained: “Even with large computer clusters, the understanding of complex weather patterns is still limited. Using Space-DRUMS will help us to better understand the behaviour of complex systems like hurricanes, their interaction with the atmosphere and hopefully anticipate where a hurricane can go next.
“Bath is at the forefront of this pioneering technology and we are really privileged by this opportunity to do these ground-breaking experiments in space.”
Press Team | alfa
Supercomputers without waste heat
07.12.2018 | Universität Konstanz
DF-PGT, now possible through massive sequencing techniques
06.12.2018 | Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.
Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.
Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...
New Project SNAPSTER: Novel luminescent materials by encapsulating phosphorescent metal clusters with organic liquid crystals
Nowadays energy conversion in lighting and optoelectronic devices requires the use of rare earth oxides.
Scientists have discovered the first synthetic material that becomes thicker - at the molecular level - as it is stretched.
Researchers led by Dr Devesh Mistry from the University of Leeds discovered a new non-porous material that has unique and inherent "auxetic" stretching...
Scientists from the Theory Department of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL) in Hamburg have shown through theoretical calculations and computer simulations that the force between electrons and lattice distortions in an atomically thin two-dimensional superconductor can be controlled with virtual photons. This could aid the development of new superconductors for energy-saving devices and many other technical applications.
The vacuum is not empty. It may sound like magic to laypeople but it has occupied physicists since the birth of quantum mechanics.
06.12.2018 | Event News
03.12.2018 | Event News
28.11.2018 | Event News
07.12.2018 | Life Sciences
07.12.2018 | Materials Sciences
07.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy