Vortex necking phenomena under microgravity Conference Paper uri icon


  • Vortex formation and stability is a function of the rotational velocity and the liquid inventory. Forces acting on the vortex, such as capillary and inertial forces, are dominant under different conditions. If the rotational velocity of the liquid is not sufficient, the desired cylindrical core required for separation does not occur. High velocities lead to instabilities and require excess power in terms of pressure head, which is undesirable. Texas A&M University has designed and fabricated a vortex type phase separator for use in microgravity. Furthermore, the Texas A&M University separator has been identified by Johnson Space Center for inclusion in the “Immobilized Microbe Microgravity Waste Water Processing System” (IMMWPS) shuttle experiment as part of a regenerative live support system. The focus of the investigation was to evaluate force balance predictions of operational boundary conditions of the phase separator. Results indicate that the ratio between forces acting on the vortex, inertial force and the capillary force, defined by the rotational Weber number, are optimized when the inertial force is approximately four times the magnitude of the capillary force.

author list (cited authors)

  • Bean, D., Kurwitz, R., Waghela, P., & Best, F.

complete list of authors

  • Bean, David||Kurwitz, Richard||Waghela, Purvi||Best, Fredrick

publication date

  • January 1, 2002 11:11 AM