Space research and Jönköping University

Lästid: 3-5 minuter
Kategorier: JTH

I remember the moon landing. It was a magic moment in my life! I had to watch it on TV early morning and it went on and on. As a result, my father had to drag me to school that morning. Space has also ways been fascinating. Little did I know that I would experience it myself!

The X-Ray furnace for viscosity and surface tension measurements of molten metals and slag. This furnace set-up was designed and built by researchers and staff at Materials and Manufacturing for ground-based reference experiments for the International Space Station.

What does space research have to do with Materials and Manufacturing??

Space is a research topic for some and a laboratory for others. For me and for us at Materials and Manufacturing, it is a laboratory. The absence of gravitation allows us to study thing happening in liquid metals without gravitation driven flow. Therefore, liquid flow leads to mixing and understanding what happened becomes guesswork. Removing the main uncertainty makes it possible to explain many otherwise inexplicable events. In metals particles and impurities are important, The same is for surfaces and interfaces between molten metals and slag. In other words, extremely important for both material and component quality.

How it started

My first space experiment took place using sounding rockets at ESRANGE giving roughly 8 minutes of zero gravity. We were studying chemical reactions between carbon, aluminium and titanium in molten aluminium. Aluminium and carbon react forming aluminium carbide that causes staining of aluminium sheets during storage deteriorating its shiny appearance.

Next round of experiments was using so-called parabolic flights. I got to fly and experience zero gravity myself! Believe it or not, I have had 22 minutes of weightless drift through thin air. Not so much, but an experience that I will keep all lif. The equipment that I built together, with my colleague Anders Eliasson, KTH, and the Swedish Space Corporation, has landed at Jönköping University!

MAFF - Microgravity Applications Furnace facility, build for space experiments.
MAFF – Microgravity Applications Furnace facility, build for space experiments.
On display at Materials and Manufacturing

Current research at Materials and Manufacturing

After many years away from space research, as my research took me elsewhere. Associate Professor Taishi Matsushita brought in a collaboration with Gaukushin University in Japan. This time the experiment was in the International Space Station (ISS). Surface tension and viscosity is important for steel quality in steel making and in welding.

This time we could not fly as ISS is an astronaut only activity! Our task was to build a piece of special measurement equipment for reference experiments at normal gravity. This equipment is located placed at JU-CAST.

Reading more about the research

Dimitrios SIAFAKAS, Taishi MATSUSHITA, Shinya HAKAMADA, Kenta ONODERA, Florian KARGL Anders E. W. JARFORS and Masahito WATANABE, Int. J. Microgravity Sci. Appl., 35 (2) (2018) 350204 DOI: 10.15011//jasma.35.350204
Dimitrios SIAFAKAS, Taishi MATSUSHITA, Anders Eric Wollmar JARFORS, Shinya HAKAMADA and Masahito WATANABE, (2018), No. 12 © 2018 ISIJ 2180 ISIJ International, Vol. 58 (2018), No. 12, pp. 2180–2185 DOI:

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