Figure 1. SEM image of Zinc sulfide produced in low gravity conditions at ZARM, where false coloring has been performed to enhance difference in structures.
The study of the processing-structure-properties-performance relationships of materials and the paradigm to improve efficiency of materials is the focus of the Material Science in Variable Gravity Group. This group implements material synthesis in low gravity, unit gravity, and high gravity conditions to vary convection and buoyancy driven forces during the synthesis of materials. The combination of advanced synthesis techniques, the use of variable gravity, and numerical analysis of optimal structures yields high-efficient materials.
Within this group is the project Energy Efficient Space Related Materials (Raumfahrtbezogene Energieeffiziente Materialien, REM), which is the formation of a new group dedicated to the creation of energy efficient materials and renewable energy systems related to space with benefits on earth. This overall project will consist of two work packages. The first project is 2diZplays which focuses on the optimization of the advanced processing of zinc sulfide (ZnS) materials in low gravity for use in Energy Efficient Displays. The second project, PhotoEChem focuses on the photoelectrochemical water oxidation under microgravity environments. 2diZplays focuses on the advanced synthesis of ZnS structures in microgravity and the advanced after-processing of this material to create a highly energy efficient materials.
Recently this group has teamed up with the Uni-Bremen Advanced Cermaics Institute for creating advanced nanofluids to be used energy efficient systems. It has been seen that small additions of nanomaterials with high heat capacities can allow the overall fluid to have new and improved thermal properties.
In all aspects of our work, we perform numerical analysis of the structures produced and find optimum structures that have increased theoretical performances, implement this into the synthesis step, then refine boundary conditions in the model, and then refine the synthesis step with a more optimized experimental matrix to produce enhanced materials. The ultimate goal of this group is to significantly increase efficiency of these energy efficient advanced materials.
Figure 2. Video of the first prototype constructed with ZnSCux materials synthesized from this project.