Blog: Lucia Lombardi

Lucia Lombardi talks about the final preparations for the parabolic flight experiment as the flight date approaches. 

I am stressed by the writing of my PhD thesis but this is not holding back my motivation and my excitement to be part of this unique and challenging project.

Time is running and only one month is left before the first parabolic campaign. I remember clearly when more than 2 years ago I got involved in this project during a Graphene Flagship meeting. It was the first time I heard words such as heat loop pipe, zero gravity and parabolic flight.

From that time a lot of work has been done; the development of graphene coatings to improve capillary pressure and thermal conductivity of the wicks, their optimization, the test of the coated samples on ground and last but not least the building of the protective rack and the experimental setup for the parabolic flight.

Promising results have been achieved with coating approaches developed both by the University of Cambridge and the University of Bologna. The first one consists of the growth a foam inside the porosity of the wick, by dipping it inside a graphene ink, while the latter on the creation of a graphene 3D structure starting from a gas precursor. Improvement of the wick performances up 70% are obtained so far, with tests still on going at the Microgravity Research Centre in UniversitĂ© Libre de Bruxelles. 

Next on the calendar, together with the production of more coated wicks for the flight, is the visit to ULB to finish the assembly and to familiarize with the setup for the parabolic flight. Then, in a couple of weeks we will all travel to Bordeaux for the installation of the rack on the plane and the preparation for the flight.

I am looking forward to going on the parabolic flight to confirm at zero gravity the promising results already achieved on ground. And of course I am looking forward to flying… even for only 30 seconds!!! 

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Publishing date: 27 November 2017 21:41