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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Mechanical Engineering

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Robert Hyers

Subject Categories

Computational Engineering | Mechanics of Materials | Structures and Materials | Thermodynamics | Transport Phenomena


The influence of oxygen on the thermophysical properties of zirconium has been investigated using MSL-EML (Material Science Laboratory Electromagnetic Levitator) on ISS (International Space Station) in collaboration with NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), ESA (European Space Agency), and DLR (German Aerospace Center). Zirconium samples with different oxygen concentrations was subjected to multiple melt cycles during which the thermophysical properties, such as density, viscosity and surface tension, have been measured at various undercooled and superheated temperatures. Also, there are melt cycles for verifying the solidification mechanism. Similar samples were found to show anomalous nucleation of the solid for certain ranges of stirring and undercooling. The facility check-out for MSL-EML and the first set of melting experiments were successfully performed in 2015. The first zirconium sample has been tested at the end of 2015. As part of ground support activities, the thermophysical properties of zirconium and Zr−O (57 at. ppm - 5 at.%) were measured using a ground-based electrostatic levitator located at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. The influence of oxygen on the measured density, surface tension and viscosity were evaluated. The surface tension change from 1%/% O to 21%/% O. The noise of viscosity measurement makes the analysis difficult. No statistical difference values for density measurement. The results of this research served as inputs for planning measurements in MSL-EML experiments.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.