Fluid Behavior Under Microgravity Conditions Within Plant Nutrient Delivery Systems: Parabolic Flight Investigations 2003-01-2483
We report here on a series of KC-135 parabolic flight studies investigating various aspects of water distribution in plant nutrient delivery systems being developed for spaceflight applications. Several types of porous tubes were evaluated. Under microgravity conditions, fluid was observed to creep up the end walls of polycarbonate substrate compartments. Capillary mats wrapped around the porous tubes wetted up in a uniform fashion regardless of the level of gravity to which they were being exposed, and they were found to eliminate the end-wall creep wetting-up pattern. Results from observations using 1-2 mm glass beads and 1-2 mm Turface substrates are presented. The Turface’s absorption of water effectively minimized fluid redistribution as the compartment alternated between microgravity and 1-1.8g conditions.