Physical Sciences

Update on Area Production in Mixing of Supercritical Fluids

The paper “Turbulence and Area Production in Binary-Species, Super- critical Transitional Mixing Layers” presents a more recent account of the research sum- marized at an earlier stage in “Area Production in Super- critical, Transitional Mixing Layers” (NPO-30425), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 26, No. 5 (May 2002) page 79. The focus of this research is on supercritical C7H16/N2 and O2/H2 mixing layers undergoing transitions to turbulence. The C7H16/N2 system serves as a simplified model of hydrocarbon/air systems in gasturbine and diesel engines; the O2/H2 system is representative of liquid rocket engines. One goal of this research is to identify ways of controlling area production to increase disintegration of fluids and enhance combustion in such engines. As used in this research, “area production” signifies the fractional rate of change of surface area oriented perpendicular to the mass-fraction gradient of a mixing layer. In the study, a database of transitional states obtained from direct numerical simulations of the aforementioned mixing layers was analyzed to investigate global layer characteristics, phenomena in regions of high density-gradient magnitude (HDGM), irreversible entropy production and its relationship to the HDGM regions, and mechanisms leading to area production.

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Dyakonov-Perel Effect on Spin Dephasing in n-Type GaAs

A paper presents a study of the contribution of the Dyakonov-Perel (DP) effect to spin dephasing in electron-donor-doped bulk GaAs in the presence of an applied steady, moderate magnetic field perpendicular to the growth axis of the GaAs crystal. (The DP effect is an electron-wave- vectordependent spin-state splitting of the conduction band, caused by a spin/orbit interaction in a crystal without an inversion center.) The applicable Bloch equations of kinetics were constructed to include terms accounting for longitudinal optical and acoustic phonon scattering as well as impurity scattering. The contributions of the aforementioned scattering mechanisms to spin-dephasing time in the presence of DP effect were examined by solving the equations numerically. Spin-dephasing time was obtained from the temporal evolution of the incoherently summed spin coherence. Effects of temperature, impurity level, magnetic field, and electron density on spin-dephasing time were investigated. Spin-dephasing time was found to increase with increasing magnetic field. Contrary to predictions of previous simplified treatments of the DP effect, spin-dephasing time was found to increase with temperature in the presence of impurity scattering. These results were found to agree qualitatively with results of recent experiments.

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Cryogenic Temperature-Gradient Foam/Substrate Tensile Tester

Tensile strengths are measured under more nearly realistic conditions. The figure shows a fixture for measuring the tensile strength of the bond between an aluminum substrate and a thermally insulating polymeric foam. The specimen is meant to be representative of insulating foam on an aluminum tank that holds a cryogenic liquid. Prior to the development of this fixture, tensile tests of this type were performed on foam/substrate specimens immersed in cryogenic fluids. Because the specimens were cooled to cryogenic temperatures throughout their thicknesses, they tended to become brittle and to fracture at loads below true bond tensile strengths.

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Slat Heater Boxes for Thermal Vacuum Testing

Slat heater boxes have been invented for controlling the sink temperatures of objects under test in a thermal vacuum chamber, the walls of which are cooled to the temperature of liquid nitrogen. A slat heater box (see Figure 1) includes a framework of struts that support electrically heated slats that are coated with a high-emissivity optically gray paint. The slats can be grouped together into heater zones for the purpose of maintaining an even temperature within each side.

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Electrical-Impedance-Based Ice-Thickness Gauges

Compact, inexpensive gauges provide early warnings of accretion of ice. Langley Research Center has developed electrical- impedance- based icethickness gauges and is seeking partners and collaborators to commercialize them. When used as parts of active monitoring and diagnostic systems, these gauges make it possible to begin deicing or to take other protective measures before ice accretes to dangerous levels. These gauges are inexpensive, small, and simple to produce. They can be adapted to use on a variety of stationary and moving structures that are subject to accumulation of ice. Examples of such structures include aircraft, cars, trucks, ships, buildings, towers, power lines (see figure), power-generating equipment, water pipes, freezer compartments, and cooling coils.

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System for Testing Thermal Insulation of Pipes

Thermal and flow conditions are carefully controlled to minimize errors. An apparatus and method have been developed for measuring the rates of leakage of heat into pipes carrying liquids, the purpose of the measurements being to quantify the thermal performance of the insulation system. The apparatus is designed primarily for testing pipes used to carry cryogenic liquids, but can also be used for measuring the thermal performance of other insulated pipes or piping systems.

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Scaling of Two-Phase Flows to Partial-Earth Gravity

A report presents a method of scaling, to partial-Earth gravity, of parameters that describe pressure drops and other characteristics of two-phase (liquid/ vapor) flows. The development of the method was prompted by the need for a means of designing two-phase flow systems to operate on the Moon and on Mars, using fluid- properties and flow data from terrestrial two-phase-flow experiments, thus eliminating the need for partial-gravity testing. The report presents an explicit procedure for designing an Earth-based test bed that can provide hydrodynamic similarity with two-phase fluids flowing in partial-gravity systems. The procedure does not require prior knowledge of the flow regime (i.e., the spatial orientation of the phases). The method also provides for determination of pressure drops in two-phase partial-gravity flows by use of a generalization of the classical Moody chart (previously applicable to single-phase flow only). The report presents experimental data from Mars- and Moon-activity experiments that appear to demonstrate the validity of this method.

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