Wednesday, December 03, 2008

drinking in space

I saw this video the other day of someone demonstrating a cup designed to allow astronauts to use cups in space. Those of you familiar with the problems of dealing with fluids in zero gravity can scroll to the last video. The rest of you get a lesson in fluid dynamics in freefall.

Without gravity pulling it down liquids will drift around and get into electronics and things. The surface tension pulls it into drifting globs of fluid.

I'm going to start with a water balloon being popped on a Vomit Comet. That's an empty 747 that flies really high and then drops over and over again. This allows for 90 second simulations of zero gravity without the expense of going into space. Then they have to try to grab it in a bag before the gravity takes effect again.

Again in a Vomit Comet. They're adding blue liquid to red to see how they interact.

Normally they'll have a bag of liquid with a straw to drink from. But it's also fun to put globs of liquid in the air and drink them.

You can use chopsticks to grab the liquid and drink it.

In that last video you may have noticed a can of something on the table. That's honey. Notice how the honey clings to the side and the bottom of the can. That gives you some idea how this new cup idea works.

There are times when you just want a proper cup to drink from. It just doesn't feel right doing a toast and raising a bag.

Further study in fluid dynamics can be seen in the Saturday Morning Science collection at The first 30 minutes elaborate on how fluids behave in the absence of gravity. There are some other sweet demonstrations in the last 17 minutes. I particularly like how they use CD players as gyroscopes.

1 comment:

Sweetly Single said...

good one!!! I can imagine how challenging bathing can be