METastable Solidification of Novel Peritectic Structures - Studies with TRANSparent Model Alloys: ISS SPACE

Short Description

Starting point / motivation

A micro-Bridgman-furnace, customized by the ESA, has been made available since 2017 as a ground model (GM) at the "Spanish User Support and Operations Center" (E-USOC) and as a flight model (FM) in the "Microgravity Science Glovebox" (MSG) aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

These devices were specially designed for µg-experiments of the Montanuniversitaet Leoben (MUL) within the framework of the ESA project METCOMP. The corresponding research area of MUL as part of this ESA project is the direct observation (in-situ) of the formation of layered peritectic microstructures and the associated dynamics of the solidification interface by using transparent organic substances.

Contents and goals

The projected implementation of the µg-experiments aboard the ISS required years of scientific preliminary research at MUL and a corresponding time frame by ESA to developed the required devices. Once the preliminary work has been completed, the scientific experiments under µg-conditions aboard the ISS are planned for the end of 2019.


The start of the corresponding preparatory work by ESA is arranged for Autumn 2018. The challenges in preparing and performing the µg-experiments are

  • to ensure sufficient quality of the alloy consisting of organic substances,
  • to carry out the filling of the samples by taking into account the thermal sensitivity of the organic substances and
  • to define optimal process parameters to performing µg-experiments by using the GM.

Expected results

For the first time, conducting the µg-experiments allows the in-situ observation of layered peritectic structures without the influence of gravity. A special innovation is the use of an organic model substance to study the dynamics of the solid-liquid (s/?) interface during the formation of layered peritectic patterns.

The scientific analysis of the experiments under 1g- and µg-conditions enables us to investigate the influence of thermo-solutal convection on the solidification microstructure. From these results, we expect a deeper understanding of the solidification behavior of peritectic systems and the corresponding microstructures. This is important for the further development of alloys based on peritectic solidification structures.

Project Partners


University of Leoben - Chair of Modeling and Simulation of Metallurgical Processes

Contact Address

University of Leoben
Chair of Modeling and Simulation of Metallurgical Processes
Univ.Prof.habil. Dipl.-Phys. D Andreas Ludwig
Franz-Josef-Straße 18/III
A-8700 Leoben