Technological Evaluation of MIM (TEM-1 & 2)

TEM Experiment Apparatus MIM Hardware TEM Mounted to MIM


The objectives of this experiment were: (1) to demonstrate the effect of g-jitter on low-gravity fluid physics experiments, (2) to demonstrate utility of Canadian provided Microgravity Isolation Mount (MIM) to isolate fluids experiments from g-jitter and evaluate the controlled displacement capabilities of the MIM, and (3) to gather new information on the damping characteristics of liquid surfaces in low-gravity.

The second Technological Evaluation of the MIM, or TEM-2, was designed to evaluate the capabilities of the MIM in a different parameter range than that of TEM-1.

Shuttle-Mir Missions
TEM-1: STS-76, NASA-2, STS-79
TEM-2: STS-79, NASA-3 - NASA-6, STS-89 (never conducted)

The TEM experiment required the crewmember to setup the MIM and MGBX facilities and to install the TEM experiment on the MIM. Installation included securing a TEM test cell to the MIM flotor and transferring the test fluid from the reservoir to the cylindrical test chamber. Then the TEM specific configuration files were loaded into the MIM processor and the experiment began. These files instructed the MIM to oscillate sinusoidally at a fixed frequency, amplitude, and direction for a short period of time and then return to the vibration isolation mode. This sequence of oscillation/isolation was conducted over a wide range of frequencies and acceleration levels automatically. The crewmember was not required again until the end of a complete set of imposed oscillations. At the end of the sequence, the crewmember would transfer the MIM data to an optical disk for storage. Then, a new set of configuration files would be loaded into the MIM processor and another sequence of imposed oscillations performed.

During the NASA-2 mission, 6 sequences of imposed oscillations were performed on each of the TEM-1 test cells. Unfortunately, all of the acceleration data for one of the test cells was lost due to an error in translating and back-translating the TEM-1 experiment procedures. The experiment was rerun on this test cell, but the fluid in the test cell had become broken into many surfaces and drops. Therefore, for this test cell, there exists video data of the liquid surface during one run and acceleration data during another run. Correlation between the two runs is ongoing. The video data of the two test cells indicates that the dissipation of energy, or damping, is greater by an order of magnitude in the low contact angle system (wetting) than in the high contact angle system (less wetting). In addition, the natural frequency of the low contact angle system was less than that of the high contact angle system.

The TEM-1 experiment was a simple concept, but was greatly complicated by using three separate facilities for conducting the experiment. The MIM, the MGBX for video recording, and a third facility, MIPS, used for storing the MIM acceleration data on optical disk. The complexities of simultaneous development of facilities and experiments led to undefined interfaces between them. These complications were exacerbated by the translation of the procedures into Russian and then back into English. The crewmember, Shannon Lucid, went to great lengths to sort out the confusion, but errors and last minute changes in the crew procedures resulted in a loss of data. These errors and mistakes may have been overcome but for the lack of real-time communication between investigators and the crew on Mir.

Jeffrey S. Allen and Suzanne Saavedra, "NASA Sponsered Fluid Physics Experiments Conducted on the Mir Space Station", paper no. AIAA 99-0437, presented at the AIAA 37th Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, January 11-14, 1999, Reno, Nevada.

Intent is to publish TEM-1 data and results in a NASA Technical Memorandum once the acceleration data is analyzed in Canada and the video is correlated.

Principal Investigators
Jeff Allen
National Center for Microgravity Research

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Page last updated: 07/16/1999