The why, how, when, and what happened of crystallization in space
Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash
What is it about?
Crystallization in space was popular during the era of the Space Shuttle and is returning to popularity. Convective flow and sedimentation are reduced and for a few but not all experiments, dramatic quality improvements in crystal quality resulted. This review goes over the history of these experiments from some of the first satellites through to the Space Shuttle, MiR and the International Space Station. It covers fundamentals associated with the "why" of the microgravity environment but also some of the surprising lessons learned in 'how' that environment can be effectively used. The lessons are equally valid today as when the review was first written and it is useful material to gain knowledge easily, without the harder empirical process.
Why is it important?
The work is the first comprehensive look at the world wide effort in microgravity crystallization. It involved people close to both the European and US programs and who led the field in understanding the physical improvements that resulted and how they could be harnessed to improve data but also the unexpected aspects including the influence of Marangoni convection and that of astronaut impact on growth.
The following have contributed to this page: Professor John Richard Helliwell and Dr Edward H Snell