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Advanced Combustion via Microgravity Experiments (ACME)

The ACME’s Quad Chart provides an overview of the study’s technical scope.

ACME is focused on advanced combustion technology via fundamental microgravity research. The primary goal is to improve efficiency and reduce pollutant emission in practical terrestrial combustion. A secondary objective is fire prevention, especially for spacecraft.

Currently, ACME includes five independent experiments (see ACME Experiments below) investigating laminar, gaseous, non-premixed flames.

The ACME experiments will be conducted with a single modular set of hardware (see ACME Implementation) in the Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR) on the International Space Station (ISS).

An ACME precursor, Structure & Liftoff In Combustion Experiment (SLICE), was conducted in the ISS’ Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) in early 2012.

The ACME design is complete and the engineering hardware is being assembled for integrated testing. On-orbit testing is expected to begin in 2017 and continue for a few years.

In this Jan. 17 photo [iss066e114301], NASA astronaut Raja Chari is at the Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR) making changes to the Advanced Combustion via Microgravity Experiments (ACME) hardware in preparation for its final days of testing. The ACME insert can be seen partially withdrawn from the CIR combustion chamber.

ACME Status

For the latest updates and photos, see www.facebook.com/space.flames/ and www.flickr.com/photos/space-flames, respectively. February 2020 900 Space Flames: Testing for the Advanced Combustion via Microgravity Experiments (ACME, https://www1.grc.nasa.gov/go/acme) project is underway on the International Space Station.  In the past 2.25 years, over 900 flames have been ignited for the CLD Flame, E-FIELD Flames, BRE, Flame Design, and … Read the rest ⇢

A composite of flame images from 9 different tests of the Flame Design experiment conducted in June and July 2019. The fuel was ethylene (C2H4), which was sometimes diluted with nitrogen, and which typically produces sooty flames on Earth. These normal flame tests, in which fuel flows from the burner into an oxidizer atmosphere, were conducted at a range of oxygen concentrations up to 40% by volume.

Experiments

The Advanced Combustion via Microgravity Experiments (ACME) project includes six independent experiments investigating laminar gaseous non-premixed flames. In other words, the flow is smooth and without vortices, the fuel is a gas (and not a liquid or solid), and the fuel and oxygen are not mixed in the burner (but are instead on opposite sides … Read the rest ⇢

Image taken during BASS-II flame test session with reduced O2 (oxygen) partial pressure. BASS-II examines the burning and extinction characteristics of a wide variety of fuel samples in microgravity. The experiment will guide strategies for materials flammability screening for use in spacecraft as well as provide valuable data on solid fuel burning behavior in microgravity. The results will contribute to the combustion computational models used in the design of fire detection and suppression systems in microgravity and on Earth.

Benefits & Relevance

In the United States, nearly 70% of our electrical energy is generated through the combustion of fossil fuels. For example, in 2012, electricity was generated in the U.S. by burning the following fuels, where the percentages indicate the fraction of the total U.S. electrical generation: coal (37%), natural gas (30%), biomass (1.4%), and petroleum (1%). … Read the rest ⇢

INVERSE FLAME - This is an image of an inverse flame from the final test conducted for the Advanced Combustion via Microgravity Experiments (ACME) project.

Publications

Prepared by Dennis P. Stocker, NASA Glenn Research Center 216-433-2166, dennis.p.stocker@nasa.gov Peer-reviewed publications resulting from the ACME project are listed on subsequent pages by investigation. The Principal Investigators (PIs), Co-Investigators (Co-Is), and lead Russian collaborators are identified below, where those marked with an asterisk are former investigators. The period of ISS operations is also shown, … Read the rest ⇢

ACME Info Sheet

Downloads

A collection of downloads/documents related the ACME.

ACME chamber insert
ACME chamber insert design.

Implementation

The ACME experiments will be conducted with a single modular set of hardware in the Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR) on the International Space Station (ISS), where the CIR is depicted below. The three main elements of the ACME-unique hardware are the chamber insert (shown below), a high-definition color camera, and an avionics package (for data … Read the rest ⇢

Gallery

Videos

ACME Contact Information

Project Manager: Lauren Brown, NASA Glenn Research Center, 216-433-8429, lauren.brown@nasa.gov

Project Scientist: Dennis Stocker, NASA Glenn Research Center, 216-433-2166, Dennis.P.Stocker@nasa.gov

Deputy Project Scientist: Prof. Fumiaki Takahashi, Case Western Reserve University, 216-368-6838, fumiaki.takahashi-1@nasa.gov

Engineering Team: ZIN Technologies, Inc.

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