Space Shuttle launched yesterday with experiment to boil water in zero-gravity onboard

Feb 25, 2011

Scientists have been hard at work trying to find safe and easy ways to do things in no gravity in space that are taken for granted here on Earth. One of the things that has been studied is how to boil water safely while in orbit. The space shuttle lifted off yesterday and one of the experiments on board was a system that allows the boiling of water in no gravity.

Boiling water could potentially be used on the ISS and other spacecraft for power generation and other applications. The problem is that it is difficult to design hardware for water boiling that will not overheat and have other issues according to the researchers.

The experiment will be conducted on the ISS and will use two arrays of platinum micro heaters that are bonded to a quartz plate. One array is 7mm across and the other is 2.7mm across. The heaters warm when electricity is applied and the space between the heater lines allow the boiling process to happen. The experiment will boil a refrigerant-like fluid called FC-72 and filmed at high speed with data shot back to Earth for analysis.

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