Foams have 80% up to 98% porosity. The gas phase is dispersed and the structure of the foam (wall) can be liquid and solid state as well. The structure of the foam can be made from plastics, metal, ceramics, aqueous suspensions, organic materials and several other materials. Examples: bone, ice cream, bread, foam bath, sponge, filters, polyfoam.
THE EXPERIMENT: During the experiment the astronaut fixed the box that contains the cartridges in place. With a simple movement the illumination system is switched on and the foams start to grow. When the amount of foams approach a given level the astronaut stops the foaming and observes how the structure changes.
THE JOURNEY OF THE EXPERIMENT HARDWARE: The experiments were carried out on the board of the ISS. The experiments needed late access because of the short shelf-life. The final assembly was in Baikonur in Kazahstan a few hours before the launch and the cargo pouch installed into progress. The launch was on 3 February 2010. After the 3 day-long journey, docking and unpacking the experiments were done in a few days. The experiment container was fitted on the wall of the Columbus module with the help of the seedseat track. The astronaut needed 3 hours to perform the experiments. During operation a large number of photos were taken and these were the only things that came back to Earth.
The aim of the project was to study the foaming process and foam stability in aqueous system under microgravity in order to establish the development of metal foam production technology. The innovation is the foam generator that is the key of our success. The behaviour of this important part and the evolved foam has to be observed for 2 hours in microgravity and this required the experiments to be held on board of the International Space Station (ISS). The details of this project are confidential.
SURE: (International Space Station: a Unique REsearch infrastructure) project was an opportunity for scientists and SMEs in new EU Member States to do research on the ISS. The selection of proposals was organized by ESA and 10 from 32 were granted. The best industrial proposal was written by our company, which we are proud of to this day. Three other winners were Hungarian. SURE project is fully funded by EC under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).