Parabolic flight testing

Up, up and away!

Parabolic flight testing
Laboratoire Madirel

Generating microdroplets in a reproducible way is already quite the challenge in itself, but when it comes to carrying out this experiment on parabolic flights, the challenge is far greater. And yet, that’s exactly what Professor Mickaël Antoni and his team at the MADIREL laboratory at Aix-Marseille University and the French national scientific research centre CNRS pulled off successfully as part of the AEROSOL project. The aim was to carry out reference experiments to understand the exchange mechanisms occurring in cloud microphysics – exchanges that are fundamental to our understanding of global warming.

Financed by the CNES and with Novespace backing, this project has brought together several research laboratories (ICARE at the University of Orléans, LPS ENS Paris, MAE/PEI at Princeton University). This project resulted in the creation of a complex instrument, where one of the technical challenges was to ensure precise coupling synchronised with electro valves, a pump, several pressure sensors, an ultra-high-speed acquisition camera, a positioning system equipped with a specific encoder, and customised pulse LED lighting. This operation mainly consisted in implementing experimental protocols requiring precise, timed and sequenced management of all these systems.

To meet all these needs, R&D Vision developed scripts using its IOTool software; functions are handled on a hardware level by equipment supplied by our partner National Instruments, which is integrated in our software tools. R&D Vision also provided a complete, extremely high-resolution image acquisition system with ultra-high-speed processing (2,000 fps) managed by the HIRIS software. By combining HIRIS and IOTool, it was possible to link the start of measurement with pressure and determine the position of the object plane for each image, irrespective of the frame speed.

IOTool truly excels when it comes to managing equipment checks and data acquisition, and we developed a new version with a simple, intuitive interface to handle your different experiment scenarios.