It has been shown recently that diffusion processes exhibit giant nonequilibrium fluctuations (NEFs). That is, the diffusing fronts display corrugations whose length scale ranges from the molecular to the macroscopic one. The amplitude of the NEF diverges following a power law behavior \#8733; q–4 (where q is the wave vector). However, fluctuations of wave number smaller than a critical "rolloff" wave vector are quenched by the presence of gravity. It is therefore expected that in microgravity conditions, the amplitude of the NEF should be boosted by the absence of the buoyancy-driven restoring force. This may affect any diffusion process performed in microgravity, such as the crystallization of a protein solution induced by the diffusion of a salt buffer. The aim of GRADFLEX (GRAdient-Driven FLuctuation EXperiment), a joint project of ESA and NASA, is to investigate the presence of NEFs arising in a diffusion process under microgravity conditions. The project consists of two experiments. One is carried out by UNIMI (University of Milan) and INFM (Istituto Nazionale per la Fisica della Materia) and is focused on NEF in a concentration diffusion process. The other experiment is performed by UCSB (University of California at Santa Barbara) concerning temperature NEF in a simple fluid. In the UNIMI part of the GRADFLEX experimental setup, NEFs are induced in a binary mixture by means of the Soret effect. The diagnostic method is an all-optical quantitative shadowgraph technique. The power spectrum of the induced NEFs is obtained by the processing of the shadowgraph images. A detailed description of the experimental apparatus as well as the ground-based experimental results is presented here for the UNIMI-INFM experiment. The GRADFLEX payload is scheduled to fly on the FOTON M3 capsule in April 2007.

Fluctuations in diffusion processes in microgravity / S. Mazzoni, R. Cerbino, A. Vailati, M. Giglio. - In: ANNALS OF THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF SCIENCES. - ISSN 0077-8923. - 1077:(2006), pp. 351-364. [10.1196/annals.1362.029]

Fluctuations in diffusion processes in microgravity

R. Cerbino;A. Vailati;M. Giglio
2006

Abstract

It has been shown recently that diffusion processes exhibit giant nonequilibrium fluctuations (NEFs). That is, the diffusing fronts display corrugations whose length scale ranges from the molecular to the macroscopic one. The amplitude of the NEF diverges following a power law behavior \#8733; q–4 (where q is the wave vector). However, fluctuations of wave number smaller than a critical "rolloff" wave vector are quenched by the presence of gravity. It is therefore expected that in microgravity conditions, the amplitude of the NEF should be boosted by the absence of the buoyancy-driven restoring force. This may affect any diffusion process performed in microgravity, such as the crystallization of a protein solution induced by the diffusion of a salt buffer. The aim of GRADFLEX (GRAdient-Driven FLuctuation EXperiment), a joint project of ESA and NASA, is to investigate the presence of NEFs arising in a diffusion process under microgravity conditions. The project consists of two experiments. One is carried out by UNIMI (University of Milan) and INFM (Istituto Nazionale per la Fisica della Materia) and is focused on NEF in a concentration diffusion process. The other experiment is performed by UCSB (University of California at Santa Barbara) concerning temperature NEF in a simple fluid. In the UNIMI part of the GRADFLEX experimental setup, NEFs are induced in a binary mixture by means of the Soret effect. The diagnostic method is an all-optical quantitative shadowgraph technique. The power spectrum of the induced NEFs is obtained by the processing of the shadowgraph images. A detailed description of the experimental apparatus as well as the ground-based experimental results is presented here for the UNIMI-INFM experiment. The GRADFLEX payload is scheduled to fly on the FOTON M3 capsule in April 2007.
Diffusion and thermal diffusion (66.10.Cb); Fluctuation phenomena (05.40.-a); Nonequilibrium and irreversible thermodynamics (05.70.Ln)
Settore FIS/03 - Fisica della Materia
ANNALS OF THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/35340
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