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Published June 1999 | Published
Journal Article Open

Noncontact technique for measuring surface tension and viscosity of molten materials using high temperature electrostatic levitation


A new, noncontact technique is described which entails simultaneous measurements of the surface tension and the dynamic viscosity of molten materials. In this technique, four steps were performed to achieve the results: (1) a small sample of material was levitated and melted in a high vacuum using a high temperature electrostatic levitator, (2) the resonant oscillation of the drop was induced by applying a low level ac electric field pulse at the drop of resonance frequency, (3) the transient signals which followed the pulses were recorded, and (4) both the surface tension and the viscosity were extracted from the signal. The validity of this technique was demonstrated using a molten tin and a zirconium sample. In zirconium, the measurements could be extended to undercooled states by as much as 300 K. This technique may be used for both molten metallic alloys and semiconductors.

Additional Information

© 1999 American Institute of Physics. (Received 10 February 1997; accepted 22 February 1999) The authors would like to thank Dr. E. Trinh for his interest in this work and for valuable discussions, S. K. Chung and D. Barber for their help, Dr. A. J. Rulison for his help in an early stage of this work, and Eugene Rhim for his proofreading of this manuscript. This work was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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