EXPERIMENT RECORD N° 6936
ARGES - Atomic densities measured Radially in metal halide lamps under microGravity conditions with Emission and absorption Spectroscopy
  1. 2004 • ISS 8S (Soyuz TMA-4) Dutch "Delta" Mission
Physical Sciences:
  • Plasma physics
MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox)
Olivier Minster
olivier.minster@esa.int
G.M.W. Kroesen (1)
(1)  
Eindhoven University of Technology
P.O. Box 513
5600MB Eindhoven
THE NETHERLANDS
Tel:  
+31402474357
Fax:  
+31402456050
e-mail:  
g.m.w.kroesen@tue.nl

High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps are gaining ground in the lighting industry because of their very high energy efficiency (up to 40%). In these lamps, which are contained in a ceramic balloon, filled with xenon, mercury, and salts of various metals and iodine, de-mixing occurs. This causes non-uniform light distribution in the illuminated area. Also, helical instabilities might occur in the lamp. This instability is characterized by the fact that the central channel of the plasma starts to bend away from the central axis and may even start to rotate around this axis, in the shape of a corkscrew. Although in itself the instability may not be directly detrimental to the efficiency of the lamp, lamps which are instable for a prolonged period, may develop a crack in the burner wall allowing the contents to leak into the outer bulb, making the lamp no longer functional.

The main objectives of the experiment are to determine the critical factors for the onset of helical instabilities in HID lamps and to characterise radial de-mixing in HID lamps by radially resolved high-resolution emission spectroscopy.

Related research:
Particle charge and electrical field studied in the pre-sheath of an RF discharge
54th ESA Parabolic Flight Campaign 2011

Atomic densities measured radially in metal halide lamps under microgravity conditions with emission and absorption spectroscopy (ARGES)
37th ESA Parabolic Flight Campaign 2004

Atomic Densities Measured Radially in Metal Halide Lamps under Microgravity Conditions with Emission and Absorption Spectroscopy (ARGES)
35th ESA Parabolic Flight Campaign 2003

Atomic densities measured radially in metal halide lamps under microgravity conditions with emission and absorption spectroscopy (ARGES)
34th ESA Parabolic Flight Campaign 2003

Part of the experiment is autonomous, while the rest requires astronaut intervention. The experiment is enclosed in a sealed container, to which a user interface (LCD screen plus a few buttons and switches) is attached. In the container, 20 lamps are placed in a carousel. Exchanging of the lamps is done automatically.

The container and user interface are placed in the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG). For lamps 1-10, a radially resolved optical emission spectrum is taken. This part of the experiment runs autonomously after being initiated by the astronaut. In lamps 11-20, the onset of helical instabilities is studied. To this end, each lamp is ignited at low power (70 W), and then the power is increased in steps of 10 W. The data obtained provides insight into the onset of instabilities. This section of the experiment requires astronaut intervention: each power step is initiated by pressing a button, and when the discharge channel rests against the wall (visible on the video screen of the Human Machine Interface HMI), the series is aborted by pressing a button. The astronaut intervention is intermittent: 10 minutes "off" during pre-heating of the lamp, and then more or less constant attention until the next lamp is chosen. This is repeated 10 times.
The experiments, performed by the Dutch ESA-astronaut André Kuipers on board the International Space Station during the Dutch Soyuz Mission “DELTA” on 24 and 25 April 2004 were a 100 % success. All foreseen measurements have been taken and all data was transported back to the experimenters. Already during the experiment operations, the results proved to be very surprising. Whereas the instabilities in the lamp were expected to be shaped as a rotating helix, they appeared to be a singly bent curve which is not rotating. This fact is very important in improving the performance of the lamps, especially since the instabilities occur mainly in the most efficient lamps.

Analysis afterwards has indicated that the rotation is caused by convection solely and that the curving is caused by self-generated magnetic fields. For one condition, residual gravity caused a very slow rotation. As expected, the axial de-mixing did not occur during the Delta mission experiments, so the radial demixing can indeed be studied undisturbed. The analysis of the spectra is well underway.

The very useful data obtained from the experiment has helped to feed into the development of more efficient and smallerā€sized HID lamps in the future, for use in space and on Earth. The first results from the experiment actually concluded that one of the main problems/influences causing flickering in the lamps was gravity.
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M.L. Beks, A.J. Flikweert, T. Nimalasuriya, W.W. Stoffels, J.J.A.M. van der Mullen, (2008), "Competition between convection and diffusion in a metal halide lamp, investigated by numerical simulations and imaging laser absorption spectroscopy", Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, 41, 14, doi:10.1088/0022-3727/41/14/144025, pp. 144025.
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A.J. Flikweert, A.F. Meunier, T. Nimalasuriya, G.M.W. Kroesen, W.W. Stoffels, (2008), "Imaging laser absorption spectroscopy of the metal-halide lamp under hyper-gravity conditions ranging from 1 to 10g", Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, 41, 19, IOP PUBLISHING, pp. 195202-1/9.
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W.W. Stoffels, F.H.J. van den Hout, G.M.W. Kroesen, M. Haverlag, R. Keijser, (2006), "Helical instability in metal halide lamps under micro and hypergravity conditions", Applied Physics Letters, 88, 9, pp. 091502-1/3.
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