experiment preparation at the Drop Tower Bremen

experiment preparation at the Drop Tower Bremen

6000th Experiment in the Drop Tower Bremen

27th October 2011 - Today at 18:00 clock the 6000th successful microgravity experiment took place at the Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM). In purely arithmetical terms, the drop tower has performed an annual average of 300 experiments during the last 21 years. The demand has, however, increased in recent years to the extent that now 500 experiments take place each year and for the first time the experimentation time is already booked out for one year in advance.

One reason for the stable growth in demand is certainly the International Space Station ISS. After it has passed from the construction phase into the intensive utilization phase, the need for preparatory research is increasing. “With the catapult system, which is doubling the experiment duration up to worldwide unique 9.3 seconds, the ZARM Drop Tower Operation and Service Company has taken an important step in order to supply the demand”, says scientific director Christian Eigenbrod.

Meanwhile, nearly a third of the drop tower customers use the catapult system because the quality of microgravity is the same as for a simple drop experiment, which only takes 4.74 seconds. Because the entire drop tube is evacuated before each experiment, there is virtually no air resistance, which could counteract the fall. This way the drop tower achieves 99.9999 percent of perfect weightlessness - a quality that even on the ISS cannot be maintained for longer periods.

In addition to the anniversary today there is also a premiere taking place, as the 6000th drop tower experiment is performed by a research group that is visiting ZARM for the first time. The team of Dr. Reinhard Miller, Max-Planck-Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam, will monitor oscillating drops as part of its OsTro-Project. In this experiment the interface between two immiscible fluids is investigated. With a special technique the capillary pressure is measured directly in the interior of the drop. The gained knowledge allows a better understanding of many technological processes, as they occur for example in the formation of foam or coating processes.

For further information:
Christian Eigenbrod, christian.eigenbrod(at)zarm.uni-bremen.de, 0421 218-4078

For general media requests and photos:
Birgit Kinkeldey, birgit.kinkeldey(at)zarm.uni-bremen.de, 0421 218-4801