Southwest Sciences Inc

Water Vapor Distribution in a Low Gravity Flame

2-D movie of concentration

Southwest Sciences is conducting research on the distribution of products in low gravity flames. Low gravity is achieved using the 2.2 Second Drop Tower at NASA Glenn Research Center by dropping the flame and the associated instrumentation eight stories down a shaft. A diode laser beam is scanned across the flame and the absorption due to water vapor is detected. The result is an image of the water vapor in the flame.

Color scale

Black red orange yellow white, white indicates largest concentration of water
Low water vapor High water vapor

1.16 MB movie showing how the water vapor distribution in the flame changes after dropping the flame.

Figure 1.  Water concentration in a microgravity flame. After being dropped, the flame lifts from the burner and thins.

Low-gravity tests were performed in February 2000 with this imaging system using the 2.2 Second Drop Tower at NASA Glenn Research Center. Fig. 1 shows water absorbance images as the flame changes from normal-gravity (pre-drop) to low-gravity. Due to an alignment problem, the scan region was not centered on the fuel inlet, but shifted slightly to the left. White (bright) regions correspond to the highest optical absorbances (lots of water vapor), dark regions the lowest. At (t=0) the flame is in normal gravity. As time progresses, the flame transitions from normal-gravity to low-gravity. Each image is acquired in about 42 milliseconds. Note the increase in the size of the low absorption region at the fuel inlet during the transition as the high absorbance region lifts from the burner, and thins and breaks in the region to the right of the fuel inlet. These are the first two-dimensional images of species absorbances in microgravity.

This research is sponsored by NASA through the NRA program at the Microgravity Science Division. For additional information, contact Alan Stanton.

Contact Information

Southwest Sciences, Inc.
1570 Pacheco St., Suite E-11, Santa Fe, NM 87505
tel. (505) 984-1322/ fax (505) 988-9230



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