Considerations for material properties and processes in space and their impact

Marcello Lappa, Andrew Kao

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Gravity dominates everything on Earth, from the way life has developed to the way many types of materials are formed. Onboard spacecrafts orbiting the Earth or other vehicles in free-fall conditions; however, the influence gravity is barely felt. In this “microgravity environment”, scientists can investigate phenomena, which are impossible on Earth or are masked by the presence of gravity. In this condition various effects are significantly altered, in particular convection, buoyancy, hydrostatic pressure and sedimentation.26 27 In this virtual absence of gravity as we know it, therefore, space flight gives scientists a unique opportunity to study various states of matter (solids, liquids and gases), and discern forces and processes that are interwoven or overshadowed in normal gravity. Accordingly, microgravity can be regarded as an important tool for improving our fundamental understanding of several complex phenomena, which are of great interest in several technological fields.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWhy Space?
Subtitle of host publicationThe Opportunity for Materials Science and Innovation
EditorsMarcello Lappa, Ian Hamerton, Peter C.E. Roberts, Andrew Kao, Marco Domingos, Hamid Soorghali, Philip Carvil
Place of PublicationDidcot
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781914241680
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2024


  • microgravity environment
  • complex fluids
  • material properties
  • material processes
  • space


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