TCD Students in Microgravity

Last January four TP students from TCD proposed an experiment to ESA to fly on the Student Parabolic Flight Campaign. It was accepted.



In June we put our experiment togethor in the TCD Physics workshop
The experiment flew on the 26th and 27th of July. It was a success.






The Manouvere

From a steady horizontal flight, the aircraft gradually pulls up its nose and starts climbing at an angle of approximately 45 degrees. This "injection" phase lasts for about 20 seconds, during which the aircraft experiences an acceleration of around 1.8 times the gravity level at the surface of the Earth, i.e. 1.8 g. The engine thrust is then reduced to the minimum required to compensate for air-drag, and the aircraft then follows a free-fall ballistic trajectory, i.e. a parabola, lasting approximately 20 seconds, during which weightlessness is achieved. At the end of this period, the aircraft must pull out of the parabolic arc, a manoeuvre which gives rise to another 20 second period of 1.8 g on the aircraft, after which it returns to normal level flight attitude.





The Experiment

We formed a soap film in a cubic wire frame and then injected liquid into the Plateau Borders (film intersections) during microgravity. This allowed them to observe the transition from a dry film configuration to a wet configuration. These are the first microgravity experiments of there kind.




The Team

David Barrett

Seán Kelly

E.J. Daly

Mathew Dolan


Wiebke Drenkhan

Prof. Denis Weaire

Mick Reilly


David Barrett, Mathew Dolan, Seán Kelly, E.J. Daly (L to R)


Press Material

Team Diary

Press Release

Publicity to Date

Powerpoint presentation






TCD Foam Group

Last updated: 1/7/2005