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Last Updated: June 30, 2008

Fluid Physics Experiment Facility (FPEF)



Experiment facility to investigate fluid physics phenomena in a micro-gravity environment

The FPEF consists of the core section and the mission section. The core section has observing equipment, the control equipment, and miscellaneous experiment support systems.
The mission section called as the "Experiment Cell", is exchangeable according to the purpose of the experiment.
The FPEF's observation capabilities include liquid bridge overview observation, three- dimensional flow field observations, surface- temperature measurement, ultrasonic velocity profile measurement, and surface-flow rate observation.

Resources for experiments

Various resources provided to users

The FPEF provides users' experiment cells with electrical resources through electrical connectors and fluid resources through Quick Disconnect (QD)s. [Electrical Resources] ·Power ·Signal ·Video etc. [Fluid Resources] ·Ar gas ·Water coolant

Users can conduct a variety of fluid experiments utilizing these resources.

Experiment cell

Development of the Experiment Cell for Marangoni convection research

The Experiment Cell is exchangeable according to the experiment purpose.

Fig. A
FPEF experiment cell for Marangoni convection research, Surface Velocity Measurement (φ30)

Fig. A shows an FPEF experiment cell for Marangoni convection research, Surface Velocity Measurement (φ30) which is currently being developed.
The experiment cell consists of liquid bridge formation equipment, heating disk, cooling disk, sample cassette, surface-flow velocity measurement assembly, and structure subsystem.

It is also permitted to users to design and fabricate their own mission section determined by themselves, providing that it satisfies the core/mission section interface

Experiment operation

Flexible experiment operations and provided experiment image data

Experiment Data & Image Data Downlink/Command Uplink
(DRTS communication line)

Users can conduct their experiments most appropriately by commanding experiment parameter changes from the ground.

Users can monitor both the status of experiment data measured by each sensor and the experiment image data via a satellite circuit in real time.

The experiment image data are downlinked to the ground for real-time monitor, and at the same time, recorded on the built-in digital Video Tape Recorder (VTR) for later analysis.


Item Specifications
Liquid Bridge Formation
Sample Silicone oil (5 [cSt] / 10 [cSt])
Tracer Metal-coated polymer particle(φ180 [µm])
Diameter 30[mm] / 50[mm] (diameter)
Length Max. 60[mm]
Adjustable range
(fluid volume)
±9.6 [cc]
Temperature Monitor
Heating Disk Temp. 10 to 100 [deg.C]
Cooling Disk Temp. Room Temp. to 0 [deg.C]
Observation Window Temp. Room Temp. to 60 deg.C]
Ambient Temp. Room Temp. to 100 [deg.C]
Liquid Bridge Internal Temp. 0 to 100 [deg.C]
Temperature Control
Heating Disk Max. 90 [deg.C]
Cooling Disk Min. 5 [deg.C]
Observation Window Max. 50 [deg.C]
3D Flow Field Observation
Monochrome 1/2" CCD Camera (x 3) Effective pixels 768(H)x494(V)
Strobe Light Flash rate 60 [Hz]
Liquid Bridge Overview Observation
Color 1/3" 3CCD camera Effective pixels 768(H)x494(V)
Light *use 3D Flow Field Observation Strobe Light concomitantly
Surface Temperature Measurement
Infrared Imager Spectral response 8 to 14 [µm]
Measurement range 0 to 100 [deg.C]
Surface Flow Velocity Measurement
Photochromic dye actuation with nitrogen gas laser Two points irradiation
  Flash rate 4.57x10-4 to 10 [Hz] (±1%)
Flash time 1 to 4097 times
Light *use 3D Flow Field Observation Strobe Light concomitantly
Ultrasonic Velocity Profile Monitor
UVP Measurement point 150 (Max.)
Space resolution 0.47 [mm] / 5 [Hz] (Min.)
Measurement range 0.47 to 61 [mm/sec]
User Interfaces
Power source 12 ± 2 [V], 4 [A] (Max.), 1 ch
24 ± 2 [V], 3.5 [A] (Max.), 1 ch
±15± 0.5 [V], 0.8 [A] (Max.) / ch, 3 ch
Power control 4 to 65 [V] / 5 to 180 [W], 3 ch
1 to 30 [V] / 5 to 180 [W], 1 ch
Solenoid valve interface 24 ± 2 [V], 1.3 [A] (Max.), 3 ch
Motor drive interface 24 [V], 3 [A], 4 ch (Model PK543-A)
Analog interface 0 to 10 [V], 8 ch
Digital interface (input) 8 ch
Digital interface (output) 8 ch
Contact interface 15 ch
Pt sensor interface 5 ch
Thermocouple interface 6 ch (K type Thermocouple)
CCD camera interface 1 ch (Model IK-TU40D)
Video interface 2 ch (NTSC)
Envelope 230(W) x 580(L) x 363(H) [mm]
Note: A portion of above envelope includes space user can't use.
Argon gas supply 88.2 [kPa] to 101.3 [kPa], 20 [NL/min]
Cooling water 8.5 [kg/h], in 16 to 23 [deg.C], out up to 43 [deg.C]
Waste gas 0.13 [Pa] to 101 [kPa]
Maximum supply power
(Exhaust heat)
255 [W] (TBD)
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