Taylor G. Wang
A. V. Anikumar
Ctr. for Microgravity Res. and Applications, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235
A wide spectrum of containerless science experiments can be performed in a microgravity environment by employing the levitation and manipulation capabilities of acoustics. Acoustic radiation forces can be used to position, rotate, oscillate, and deform liquid samples; and thereby help perform controlled experiments. These aspects have been successfully demonstrated in space with the Drop Dynamics Module (DDM, May 1985), and the more recent Drop Physics Module (DPM, June 1992). The mastering of these noninvasive manipulation techniques opens the way for future drop physics and containerless materials processing experiments. In the latter context, the acoustic method is useful in the control of any molten material, regardless of it being conducting, or charged, or not.