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Airbus FOAM-C research experiment now underway on the ISS

Reporter

Airbus has successfully sent a new fluid experiment, FOAM-C, to the International Space Station. FOAM-C was developed and manufactured for the European Space Agency and studies the stability of foams away from the influence of Earth’s gravity.

Airbus FOAM-C research experiment now underway on the ISS
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The scientists are interested in the behaviour of the foams at different liquid fraction and in particular around the point of un-jamming (transition from a solid-like to liquid-like structure), which can be studied only in microgravity. 

In addition, this experiment might provide useful insights for the manufacture, use and ageing behaviour of foams, which are utilised in a wide range of areas, including in cosmetics and personal-hygiene products, in the food industry, in cleaning products, sealing products and for firefighting.

The FOAM-C experimental set-up comprises five segments with a total of 20 small test cells containing a variety of liquid mixtures.

The Fluid Science Laboratory on the ISS Columbus module will automatically shake and analyse these mixtures using complex laser optics, highly sensitive photodiodes and high-resolution cameras that can take up to 10,000 images per second.

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Each test cell weighs only 20 grams and contains less than two cubic centimetres of the liquid mixture, while each segment comprises four test cells and weighs a total of 320 grams.

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