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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Mechanical Engineering

Degree Type

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (M.S.M.E.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Electromagnetic levitation experiments provide a powerful tool that allows for the study of nucleation, solidification and growth in a containerless processing environment. Containerless processing allows for the study of reactive melts at elevated temperatures without chemical interactions or contamination from a container. Further, by removing the interface between the liquid and its container, this processing technique allows for greater access to the undercooled region for solidification studies. However, in these experiments it is important to understand the magnetohydrodynamic flow within the sample and the effects that this fluid flow has on the experiment.

A recent solidification study found that aluminum-nickel alloy sample have an unusual response of the growth rate of the solid to changes in undercooling. This alloy experienced a decrease in the growth velocity as the initial undercooling deepened, instead of the expected increase in solidification velocity with deepening undercoolings. Current work is exploring several different theories to explain this phenomenon. Distinguishing among these theories requires a comprehensive understanding of the behavior of the internal fluid flow. Our project, USTIP, has done flow modeling to support this and multiple other collaborators on ISS-EML. The fluid flow models presented for the aluminum-nickel sample provide critical insights into the nature of the flow within the aluminum-nickel alloy experiments conducted in the ISS-EML facility. These models have found that for this sample the RNG k-ε model should be used with this sample at temperatures greater than 1800 K and the laminar flow model should be used at temperatures lower than 1600 K.

Other work in the ISS-EML, has studied the thermophysical properties of liquid germanium and has found the most recent measurements using oscillating drop techniques to have a discrepancy from the expected property measurements taken terrestrially. Investigating this discrepancy required the quantification of the velocity and characterization of the internal fluid flow in the drop. The models have found that the flow within the sample maintains turbulent behavior throughout cooling.

This thesis presents the analysis of the internal flow of four additional samples processed in the International Space Station Electromagnetic Levitation facility. These samples consist of the following alloys: Ti39.5Zr39.5Ni21, Cu50Zr50, Vitreloy 106, and Zr64Ni36. Our collaborators work required the internal flow to be characterized and quantified for their work on solidification. In addition to quantifying the velocity of the flow, the Reynolds number was calculated to characterize the flow during processing. Additionally, the shear-strain rate was calculated for the flow during processing up to the recalescence of the melt.


First Advisor

Robert W. Hyers

Second Advisor

Blair Perot

Third Advisor

Wen Chen