EXPERIMENTAL STUDY OF THE EFFECTS OF WEIGHTLESSNESS ON THE CONFIGURATION OF MERCURY AND ALCOHOL IN SPHERICAL TANKS
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION CLEVELAND OH GLENN RESEARCH CENTER
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As a part of the study of problems associated with the behavior of rocket engine propellants stored in space-vehicle tanks while exposed to weightlessness and solar and planetary radiant heat sources, the zero-gravity liquid configuration of several common liquids in spherical glass tanks was experimentally investigated. The zerogravity equilibrium liquid configuration for mercury in spherical glass tanks is one in which the liquid-vapor surface is a surface of constant curvature and the mercury remains in contact with the walls at the same contact angle as was observed in the l-g environment. The contact angle for mercury appeared to be unaffected by the level of the gravity field. The zero-gravity equilibrium liquid configuration for ethyl alcohol in spherical glass tanks is a completely wetted tank wall with a spherical vapor bubble in the interior of the liquid. The time required to wet the tank wall completely increased with an increase in the ratio of density to surface tension for carbon tetrachloride, ethyl alcohol, and water.