Electrodeposition of metals and metal/cermet composites in low gravityElectrodeposition experiments were carried out on the bench and a KC-135 aircraft at 0.01 g in anticipation of microgravity flights on NASA's Space Transportation System Shuttle. Experimental results obtained by interferometry compare concentration gradients as a function of time in the vicinity of a reducing electrode (cathode) for Cu(+2) and Co(+2) electrodeposition cells. No difference was found between bench and 0.01 g produced gradients for a .1M CuSO4 cell, but a significant difference was noted between the gradients in a 1M CoSO4 cell even though the bench cells were operated in a nonconvecting shielded (cathode over anode) mode. The gradient for Co(+2) depletion produced at 0.01 g was greater and the entire layer was thicker than found on the bench. Neutral buoyancy/matched density codeposition experiments were performed on the bench in an attempt to physically duplicate the results of metal/cermet codepositions in microgravity. Polystyrene spheres with average diameter 11.8 microns and density approximately matching that of 1M CoSO4 were utilized to emulate nonsedimenting cermets in microgravity. The cells were operated in a shielded convectionless mode. Comparison with literature data on codeposition with stirred cells indicate significant improvement in volume percent neutral occluded in the depositing metal matrix. A multicell electrodeposition flight apparatus that has been designed, constructed and is undergoing testing is discussed.
Riley, Clyde (Alabama, University Huntsville, United States)
Coble, Dwain (Alabama Univ. Huntsville, AL, United States)
Maybee, George (McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Co. Huntsville, AL, United States)