The aim, activity, and some preliminary results of the STARDUST program are presented. The condensation of solid materials from the vapor phase is important in several scientific fields such as chemical vapor deposition, air pollution, and the formation of refractory cosmic dust around stars. Conventional studies of refractory grain formation, using high temperature furnace and shock tube techniques, are restricted to short time scales and suffer from buoyancy induced convection that limit their accuracy. In order to simulate more accurately the condensation of refractory grains near stars and to investigate the advantages of performing condensation studies in microgravity conditions, an experimental investigation of vapor phase condensation in microgravity was undertaken. The experimental equipment currently used is reported. The results from the first flight series and particle aggregation modeling efforts are presented.
ESA, Proceedings of the 8th European Symposium on Materials and Fluid Sciences in Microgravity, Volume 2; p 481-488