Review of the Maxus 8 Sounding Rocket Experiment to Investigate Solidification in a Ti-Al-Nb Alloy

Robin P. Mooney, Dublin Institute of Technology
David J. Browne, University College Dublin
Olga Budenkova, EPM/SIMAP, Grenoble, France
Yves Fautrelle, EPM/SIMAP, Grenoble, France
Ludo Froyen, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Andrey Kartavykh, Institute of Chemical Problems for Microelectronics (ICPM), Moscow, Russia
Stephan Rex, ACCESS e.v., Aachen, Germany
Burkhard Schmitz, EADS Astrium, Airbus-Allee 1, Bremen, Germany
Daniella Voss, European Space Agency/ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands
Shaun McFadden, Dublin Institute of Technology

Document Type Conference Paper

Proceedings of the 20th European Space Agency Symposium on European Rocket and Balloon Programmes and Related Research (Hyeres, Provence, France, 22-26 May 2011)


A review of the MAXUS 8 sounding rocket microgravity experiment to investigate solidification structures in a Ti-Al-Nb intermetallic alloy is presented. The experiment was part of the Intermetallic Materials Processing in Relation to Earth and Space Solidification (IMPRESS) EU FP6 project. Key objectives were to investigate columnar and equiaxed solidification, and to achieve Columnar-to-Equiaxed Transition (CET) in the alloy. A microgravity experiment was designed to achieve this using a controlled power-down method. Two alloys were tested: one inoculated with a grain refiner and the other without grain refinement. Unrefined samples displayed axial and radial columnar growth. Boride inoculated samples displayed an equiaxed structure. No clear CET was achieved. The design, details, and results of the experiment are presented.