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Published March 2005 | public
Journal Article Open

Minimizing convection effects to measure diffusion in liquid droplets during high-temperature electrostatic levitation


We present an approach to reduce the convective flow in an electrostatically levitated liquid droplet to such an extent that diffusion is the dominant mechanism for mass transport, thus enabling direct measurements of atomic diffusion in reactive liquids at elevated temperatures. Convection is minimized by containerless processing, and reducing temperature variations in the sample. The diffusion tracer is deposited in situ in the electrostatic levitation device used for containerless processing. Uniform noncontact heating of the sample is achieved by laser heating with multiple beams arranged symmetrically, e.g., in a tetrahedral geometry. The expected temperature variations and the resulting convection flows are estimated for a Zr-based glass-forming alloy. The analysis suggests that diffusion experiments are possible throughout the entire undercooled liquid temperature range of this alloy and, in microgravity, up to 50 K above the liquidus temperature.

Additional Information

©2005 American Institute of Physics (Received 18 November 2004; accepted 12 January 2005; published online 2 March 2005) This work was supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration sGrant No. NAG8-1744d. S.B. was supported by the EU RTN-network on bulk metallic glasses sHPRN-CT-2000-00033d and by the Belgian Science Policy Office.


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