The electromagnetic levitation (EML) facility on board the ISS is a powerful tool for investigation of solidification phenomena of metallic melts and precise measurement of thermophysical properties of the liquid. Containerless processing enables deep undercoolings prior to solidification and the analysis of crystal nucleation and growth phenomena. The microgravity environment allows studying these processes under reduced fluid flow and moreover under different levels of melt convection by systematic variation of electromagnetic stirring. Material properties like density, specific heat, surface tension, viscosity, thermal and electrical conductivity of liquid metals and semiconductors are determined in the absence of disturbances caused by container walls and gravity forces. Scientists are supported by facility and mission specialists for preparation and performance, which is decisive for successful operation on orbit. User support comprises the determination of material data, development of experiment procedure, parameter sets and their validation in the ground model as well as the conduction of space experiments by real-time monitoring and control. The comprehensive support program for the entire life cycle of science project from experiment definition to its operation ensures high-quality data and an optimum of scientific results.
Part of the book: Preparation of Space Experiments