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Molecules 2017, 22(6), 947;

Pattern Evolution during Double Liquid-Vapor Phase Transitions under Weightlessness

Department of Physics and Astronomy, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC 29424, USA
ESEME,Institut de Chimie de la Matiere Condensee de Bordeaux, CNRS, Univ. Bordeaux, ICMCB, UPR 9048, F-33600 Pessac, France
Service des Basses Temperatures, CEA-Grenoble et Universite Joseph Fourier, 38054 Grenoble, France
Physique et Mecanique des Milieux Heterogenes, UMR 7636 CNRS-ESPCI-Universite Pierre et Marie Curie-Universite Paris Diderot, 10 rue Vauquelin, 75005 Paris, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Yu Yang
Received: 13 May 2017 / Revised: 31 May 2017 / Accepted: 2 June 2017 / Published: 9 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sub- and Supercritical Fluids and Green Chemistry)
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Phase transition in fluids is ubiquitous in nature and has important applications in areas such as the food industry for volatile oils’ extraction or in nuclear plants for heat transfer. Fundamentals are hampered by gravity effects on Earth. We used direct imaging to record snapshots of phase separation that takes place in sulfur hexafluoride, SF6, under weightlessness conditions on the International Space Station (ISS). The system was already at liquid-vapor equilibrium slightly below the critical temperature and further cooled down by a 0.2-mK temperature quench that produced a new phase separation. Both full view and microscopic views of the direct observation cell were analyzed to determine the evolution of the radii distributions. We found that radii distributions could be well approximated by a lognormal function. The fraction of small radii droplets declined while the fraction of large radii droplets increased over time. Phase separation at the center of the sample cell was visualized using a 12× microscope objective, which corresponds to a depth of focus of about 5 μ m. We found that the mean radii of liquid droplets exhibit a t 1 / 3 evolution, in agreement with growth driven by Brownian coalescence. It was also found that the mean radii of the vapor bubbles inside the liquid majority phase exhibit a t 1 / 2 evolution, which suggest a possible directional motion of vapor bubbles due to the influence of weak remaining gravitational field and/or a composition Marangoni force. View Full-Text
Keywords: phase separation; microgravity; binary coalescence phase separation; microgravity; binary coalescence

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Oprisan, A.; Garrabos, Y.; Lecoutre, C.; Beysens, D. Pattern Evolution during Double Liquid-Vapor Phase Transitions under Weightlessness. Molecules 2017, 22, 947.

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