Research into microgravity and experimentation into such an environment, is greatly important to science and engineering organizations all over the world for its potential to unlock mysteries in fields such as materials science, combustion, and propulsion as well as plasma and fluid physics and dynamics. UQ’s Micro-gravity facility is a ground-based facility that provides an inexpensive alternative to space based testing.
The release mechanism is vital to the function of the facility, as it must achieve a smooth release, ensuring that no apparent gravity or acceleration is transmitted to the testing device.
Four different types of release mechanism were tested and compared against each other and against the current system. It was found that a magnetic release was the quickest, quietest and smoothest out of the four tested and was more efficient than the current system also.
A secondary outcome of the thesis was the observation that the major vibrations were being exacerbated by the experimental platform, rather than the release mechanism itself. Suggestions for improvement and testing were provided for this platform.