Microgravity Science and Technology vol:19 issue:5-6 pages:85-89
Meeting of Science on European Soyuz Missions to the ISS location:Toledo, SAPIN date:27-30 June 2006
Combustion Synthesis experiments have been performed on the ISS (International Space Station) during the Belgian taxi-flight mission ODISSEA in November 2002, in the framework of the ESA-coordinated project COSMIC (Combustion Synthesis under Microgravity Conditions). The main objective of the experiments was to investigate the general physico-chemical mechanisms of combustion synthesis processes and the formation of products microstructure. Within the combustion zone, a number of gravity-dependent phenomena occur while other phenomena are masked by gravity. Under certain conditions, gravity-dependent secondary processes may also occur in the heat-affected zone after combustion. To study the influence of gravity, a specially dedicated reactor ensemble was designed and used in the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) onboard the ISS. In this work, the experiment design is first discussed in terms of the experimental functionality and reactor ensemble integration in the MSG. To investigate microstructure formation, a sample constituted by a cylindrical portion followed by a conical one, the latter being inserted inside a massive copper block, is used. The experiment focused oil the synthesis of intermetallic matrix composites (IMCs) based on the Al-Ti-B system. Depending on the composition, different intermetallic compounds (TiAl and TiAl3) can be formed as matrix phase while TiB2 represents the reinforcing particulate phase. During the ISS mission, six samples with a relatively high green density of 65%TD have successfully been processed. The influence of the composition on the combustion process will be examined.