This project’s objective is to bring unique experimental insight to the detailed interactions between a gas and dispersed particles. By informing recent theories for those interactions, this work will benefit a wide array of industrial processes involving gas-solid suspensions.
The research is made possible by our development of a unique axisymmetric Couette cell producing shearing flows of gas and agitated solids in the absence of gravitational accelerations (Fig. 1). The facility will permit gas- particle interactions to be studied over a range of conditions where the suspension is steady and fully-developed.
Unlike Earth-bound flows where the gas velocity must be set to a value large enough to defeat the weight of particles, the duration and quality of microgravity on the Space Station will permit us to achieve suspensions where the agitation of the particles and the gas flow can be controlled independently by adjusting the gas pressure gradient along the flow and the relative motion of the boundaries.