Breaking the Tension: Development and Investigation of a Centrifugal Tensioned Metastable Fluid Detector System



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The current knowledge of the performance characteristics of Centrifugal Tensioned Metastable Fluid Detectors is limited. While a theoretical treatment and experience with bubble chambers may be applied with some degree of success, they are no substitute for experimental and operational knowledge of real CTMFD systems. This research, as with other investigations into CTMFD systems in the past, applies theory and simulations. In addition, however, an experiment was conducted that for the first time attempts to determine the threshold energy for triggering a CTMFD system in a controlled manner.

A CTMFD system works in a manner similar to classic bubble chambers. A liquid is brought to an unstable state in which it is favorable to form a volume of vapor; using centrifugal techniques similar to those employed in a Briggs apparatus, the pressure in the sensitive region can be brought to extremely low values, placing the liquid in a tensile state. In such states, the energy necessary to cause the formation of macroscopic bubbles can be vanishingly small, depending on the degree of tension. When such bubbles form in a CTMFD, if they have a size bigger than a critical value, they will grow until a large vapor column forms in the sensitive region of the CTMFD.

The experiment developed for this research employed a carefully-controlled laser to fire pulses of known energies into the sensitive region of a CTMFD. By varying the laser power, the threshold values for the triggering energy of a CTMFD can be found.

The experiment and simulation demonstrated the ability of the facilities to test CTMFD systems and the potential to extract their operational characteristics. The experiment showed a certain viability for the technique of laser-induced cavitation in a seeded fluid, and demonstrated some of the associated limitations as well. In addition, the CFD framework developed here can be used to cross-compare experimental results with computer simulations as well as with the theoretical models developed for this research.