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06-05-2001

Chemical Engineering Professor Publishes Book On Bubbles And Drops In Outer Space

Bubbles are everywhere, even in outer space, says Clarkson University Chemical Engineering Professor R. Shankar Subramanian, who recently co-authored a book on the subject. 
“Whether it is the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station, a satellite or probes that go out to Mars, in all of these spacecraft, liquids with bubbles and drops are encountered,” he says.
Materials processing experiments in space have commonly involved the growth of crystals and the processing of alloys and composites. Biological experiments have been performed on a variety of subjects, including protein crystal growth, bioreactors and the adaptation of humans to extended periods of weightlessness. In these studies, fluid masses containing bubbles and drops are encountered routinely.
Subramanian wrote The Motion of Bubbles and Drops In Reduced Gravity with co-author R. Balasubramaniam, a staff scientist at the National Center for Microgravity Research, located at NASA’s John H. Glenn Research Center. The book is the first to provide a clear, thorough review of the motion of bubbles and drops in reduced gravity.
“This book is for a specialized audience of advanced graduate students and researchers in the field of fluid mechanics,” says Subramanian. “There is a certain group of people who are interested in bubbles and drops, and what makes them move, what shapes they take.”
The subject of bubbles and drops is one that Subramanian has studied since 1979. He began collaborating with Balasubramaniam in 1989, and led a team that performed two Space Shuttle experiments on the motion of bubbles and drops in 1994 and 1996.
Subramanian, who received his bachelor’s in chemical engineering from the University of Madras, India, and received his master’s and doctorate degrees in chemical engineering from Clarkson, began teaching at Clarkson in 1973. He served as chair of Clarkson’s Chemical Engineering Department from 1986 to 1996, when he returned to assume full-time duties as a faculty member. 
The Motion of Bubbles and Drops In Reduced Gravity (ISBN 0-521-49605-5) is published by Cambridge University Press.
[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or aharrison@clarkson.edu.]

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