observing crystals that grow out of liquid helium, a great
deal can be learned about the basic behavior of a range
of materials with selected properties. Using a super-cold
system with precision pressure controls, the KISHT experiment
will be conducted in orbit to operate
in a low-gravity environment.
is an ideal material to use for this test, because it transports
heat away very quickly, making it easier to observe crystal
formulation than is possible with other materials. While
similar tests of crystal growth have been conducted on Earth,
it is entirely different observing them in the absence of
gravity. Similarly, room temperature crystallization tests
have been taken into space before, proving that growing
crystals in a micro-gravity environment will create larger
and more uniform crystals.
most important characteristic of the experiment is to observe
the formation of crystals that are free from the force of
gravity, to see if their structure develops differently.
Novel shapes may grow when gravity forces do not influence
the liquid helium and crystals can be grown without the
influence of the container walls. Other factors that come
into play when experimenting with crystal growth include,
determining how many neighbor atoms the helium atoms have,
under different temperatures and pressures.
KISHT experiment is housed in a baseball-size container
with a transparent window that allows the crystals to be
videotaped with a high-speed system.
knowing how to grow better crystals, techniques might be
developed that can lead to improved manufacturing methods
or other commercial applications of the knowledge.