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A microgravity setup

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An experimental setup dedicated to experiments in parabolic flights was designed and built at LIPhy. Its performances allowed to run experiments on the aggregation of red blood cells in flow under experimental conditions that are so special to microgravity.

Conducting experiments in microgravity, on experimental platforms such as drop towers, parabolic flights on-board aircrafts or sounding rockets often requires the development of specific equipment to perform semi-automated tasks, to adapt to particular conditions (succession of strong accelerations and microgravity phases) as well as to the technical and safety constraints of each platform.
A new experiment of the DYFCOM team on the aggregation of red blood cells in flow, carried out in partnership with CNES in parabolic flights, required a system to manage and inject samples of red blood cell suspensions that would allow to ensure a sequential injection of the different samples during the same flight, and maintain their homogeneity by preventing sedimentation of these samples in normal or hyper-gravity phases experienced during the flight.
The technical solution that was selected and carried out in the laboratory (Patrice Ballet) is a multichannel syringe pump (up to 6 samples), each channel being equipped with a continuous stirring system of the sample via a magnetic bar placed in the syringe and a rotating magnetic field. The set is cleverly controlled by two Arduino boards offering a simple and ergonomic interface for controlling the device in flight.
The device was integrated into the experimental rack assembled in collaboration with the Université Libre de Bruxelles successfully and completed its first parabolic flight campaign aboard the Airbus A310-Zero G of Novespace during the CNES VP131 campaign (25 September - 5 October 2017). The promising results are currently being processed.

Montage expérimental dédié à une expérience en vols paraboliques

Contacts :
Patrice Ballet, Thomas Podgorski

Voir en ligne : Parabolic flights