Owing to the development of the space exploration activities, the in-orbit management of fluids such as the transportation of propellant liquid in microgravity becomes the important direction of microgravity fluid research, and one of main problems is the stability behaviors of free surface flow in capillary channel of PMD. In the present study, an experiment set-up of the fluid transport with two different capillary channels has been developed on the Beijing Drop Tower platform. Both symmetrical and asymmetrical flow channels, with the same cross-sectional areas and lengths and different cross-sectional geometries were used and HFE-7500 is chosen as test liquid. 10 times of the drop-down experiments were performed for investigation of the capillary flow characters in different volumetric flow rates, and the three main patterns of capillary flows: subcritical flow, critical flow and supercritical flow were found in experiments, these patterns are distinguished by the movement of the point of lowest surface over time. Meanwhile, the critical flow rates at which free surface becomes instable observed in our experiments are (1) 2.7 +/- 0.2ml/s for the critical flow rate of asymmetrical channel; and (2) 2.2 +/- 0.2ml/s for symmetrical channel flow, respectively.
This research was financially supported by National Natral Science Foundation of China (Grants No. 11532015), China National High-tech R&D Program and the Strategic Priority Research Program on Space Science, the Chinese Academy of Sciences