Fire on the space station: astronauts completed an experiment to study combustion

(ORDO NEWS) — NASA lit about 1,500 lights during six surveys aboard the International Space Station as part of the long-term Advanced Combustion via Microgravity Experiments or ACME project. The aim of the project was to use the microgravity environment to better understand the physics, structure and behavior of the flame.

How was the experiment with fire on the ISS

The time of NASA astronauts is precious, so the ACME team, as far as possible, sought to conduct experiments remotely from NASA’s Glenn ISS Payload Control Center in Cleveland.

This knowledge can help engineers here on Earth design furnaces, power plants, boilers, and other combustion systems that are more efficient, greener, and safer said Dennis Stoker, ACME Project Scientist at NASA’s Glen Research Center.

The experiments carried out inside the built-in combustion rack module at the station lasted 4.5 years in orbit.

Although the ACME is no more – it was removed in February to make room for a new set of fire safety experiments called Solid Fuel Ignition and Extinguishing, or SoFIE – Stoker notes that the contribution of the ACME experiment was greater than originally thought.

The ACME hardware should return to Earth in 2022, according to NASA, and it will be repurposed for a new series of experiments that will be sent into space in the next few years.

During the operation of the installation, NASA managed to complete the following experiments:

  • Burn Rate Simulator (BRE) – The demonstrated materials can burn for several minutes in the absence of airflow in the atmosphere of the crew being considered for future missions.
  • Coflow Laminar Diffusion Flame (CLD Flame) Reference – data was obtained under extreme soot and high dilution conditions to improve computational models.
  • Cold Flame with Gases (CFI-G) study – resulted in cold flame gaseous fuels without pre-mixing and without the enhancements such as heated reagents, pulsed plasma or ozone additions that were required in ground testing.
  • Applying an Electric Field to a Laminar Diffusion Flame (E-FIELD Flame) – Demonstrated the potential use of electric fields to reduce flame emissions without premixing.
  • Flame Design – For the first time, a quasi-stable spherical flame has been demonstrated without pre-mixing and radiative heat loss leading to the extinction of a larger flame.
  • Structure and response of a spherical diffuse flame (s-Flame) – Flame growth and decay data are provided to improve computational models.

Experiments with fire on the ISS: watch the video


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