Space GrainsThe aim of the Space Grains project is to study the dynamics and the statistical mechanics of an ensemble of particles that dissipates due to collisions. The experiments focus on clustering mechanisms, thermal fluctuations, convection, segregation and physical phenomena related to excited granular systems.
Coordination : E.Falcon and N.Vandewalle.
The goal was to defined the ESR (Experimental Scientific Requirements) for the ISS prototype of the Vip-Gran instrument. Various cells have been defined, among them: 3D and 2D dry cells, Wet cell, Sound cell, Shear cell…
After our presentation at ESTEC in January 2017, the ESA Programme Board approved the plan to proceed with no further delay with the development (phase δB/C) of the VIP-GRAN instrument for ISS as part of the ESA E3P SciSpace programme.
The third parabolic flight campaign of the Vip-Gran instrument were performed in Bordeaux (France) in November 2016.
Granular convection, segregation for heterogeneous granular media, and quasi-elastic limit of a dissipative granular gas were studied.
Our instrument VIP-Gran is ready for parabolic flights in Bordeaux next weeks. The parameters of the experiments have been fixed at the Cologne meeting last September. plan :
- Day 1: Segregation of small and large ITO coated glass beads: Thanks to the transparency of the particles demixing can be highlighted in the system. Moreover, convection is studied for granular media exposed to asymmetric excitation.
- Day 2: Thermodynamical limit: Increasing the cell size while maintaining a constant packing fraction triggers cluster formation. This counterintuitive phenomenon is linked to finite sizes effects present in our system.
- Day 3: Mixing anisotropic particles: We study a mixture of spherical beads and rods. Segregation coupled to the apparition of layers within the bulk may lead to ordered arrangements of the elongated particles.Collecting data is of crucial interest for confirming our recent discoveries : convection in granular gases and segregation phenomena in space.
Training with the VIP-GRAN instrument (developed by DTM Tech.) will be performed in Modena (Italy) from 12th to 14th oct. 2016.
The Space Grains collaboration will use the Vip-Gran instrument during the 65th ESA Parabolic Flight Campaign, October 24 to November 04, 2016 at Novespace, Bordeaux (France)