Aerodynamic levitator furnace for measuring thermophysical properties of refractory liquids

Langstaff, D.; Gunn, M.; Greaves, G. N.; Marsing, A.; Kargl, F.
December 2013
Review of Scientific Instruments;Dec2013, Vol. 84 Issue 12, p124901
Academic Journal
The development of novel contactless aerodynamic laser heated levitation techniques is reported that enable thermophysical properties of refractory liquids to be measured in situ in the solid, liquid, and supercooled liquid state and demonstrated here for alumina. Starting with polished crystalline ruby spheres, we show how, by accurately measuring the changing radius, the known density in the solid state can be reproduced from room temperature to the melting point at 2323 K. Once molten, by coupling the floating liquid drop to acoustic oscillations via the levitating gas, the mechanical resonance and damping of the liquid can be measured precisely with high-speed high-resolution shadow cast imaging. The resonance frequency relates to the surface tension, the decay constant to the viscosity, and the ellipsoidal size and shape of the levitating drop to the density. This unique instrumentation enables these related thermophysical properties to be recorded in situ over the entire liquid and supercooled range of alumina, from the boiling point at 3240 K, until spontaneous crystallization occurs around 1860 K, almost 500 below the melting point. We believe that the utility that this unique instrumentation provides will be applicable to studying these important properties in many other high temperature liquids.


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