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Low Temperature and Condensed Matter Physics
    PAST: CHEX CVX LPE ZENO
    PRESENT: Ongoing Research
    FUTURE: BEST DYNAMX EXACT KISHT MISTE SUE SHE

Launch Date: Proposed experiment
Mission Duration:4 months
Principle Investigator: Porf. Humphrey Maris, Brown University

 

SHE image

SHE is a detailed study of the motions of isolated drops of superfluid helium in the weightlessness of orbit. The idea is to suspend a single drop of liquid helium, in this micro-gravity environment, and study its behavior free of gravity's tug.

In the absence of gravity a liquid drop floats, so it can be isolated and better studied. Since it doesn't touch any of the surfaces of its container, which could alter its behavior, the results of the experiment are less susceptible to error. A weightless liquid drop can also be studied for a very long time.

To conduct SHE, helium is cooled into a liquid, and an individual drop is released into a grapefruit-size test chamber. The chamber finely controls the temperature and pressure the drop is subjected to. The drop motions are then recorded with high-speed video at 1,000 frames per second, through a window in the chamber. A laser scattering instrument precisely measures the deformation of the drop.

With the information gathered by SHE, scientists will better understand the fundamental behavior of drops, to see if peculiarities exist what were never before observed. There are several other factors will be studied, including:

  • Dependence of the shape of a drop, on its rotation rate.
  • The creation of vortices - mini whirlpools - in rotating drops.
  • Measurement of the damping of drop oscillations.
  • Investigation of the combining of drops.

SHE is an example of fascinating fundamental physics using low temperatures and micro-gravity environments.



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