The Soret Coefficient in Crude Oil experiment cells filled to 350 bar. The experiment will measure how hydrocarbon molecules redistribute when the temperature is not uniform. Learning how complex liquids behave is of interest to the petroleum industry and academia, who can apply the data to model real-life conditions of oil reservoirs deep underground. These measurements can only be performed in weightlessness.
The experiment’s crude oil sits in six small titanium cylinders. One end of each cylinder is warmed while the other end is cooled. Before returning to Earth, a valve is closed to prevent the liquid from remixing during reentry.
Sending such a high-pressure device into space is not to be taken lightly and the cylinders were built to withstand more than double pressure than they will during normal operations – 1000 times atmospheric pressure.