The selected team for the 2015 Drop Your Thesis! campaign, called Dropping Drops, is composed of two Master’s students from the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany. They studied the penetration of a liquid droplet into a porous surface in its short inertial phase.
Dropping Drops used 4 high speed cameras to study the penetration of large liquid droplets upon contact with a porous surface. The wetting of porous surfaces is crucial to applications where the three states of matter coexist; for example, in fuel cells, filtration, CO2 sequestration, heat pipes, or the wetting of soils.
In Earth gravity, only the material penetration of the smallest droplets can be studied. This is due to the fact that droplets that are larger than approximately one millimetre in size deform under the pull of gravity, spoiling the penetration. In microgravity, Dropping Drops has the ability to study larger droplets with high accuracy, over a longer penetration time.
Following around 6 months of designing, building, and testing the experiment, the team spent two weeks in November 2015 campaigning at ZARM. The first week was focused on integration and ground testing of the experiment, while the second was dedicated to the actual microgravity experiments.
Last update: 20 November 2015