Published: Feb. 18, 2022

Álvaro Romero-CalvoÁlvaro Romero-Calvo
PhD Candidate, Smead Aerospace
Thursday, Mar. 3 | 1:00 P.M. | AERO 111

Abstract: Low-gravity multiphase flows play a central role in an increasing number of space systems, ranging from propellant management and thermal control to life support and food processing. Over the last 60 years, the study of low-gravity fluid mechanics has relied on surface tension and inertial forces to control these systems with varying degrees of success. However, creative solutions are needed to satisfy the growing demand for efficient, robust, and reliable low-gravity fluid management devices in a time when new space actors are opening opportunities for the development of an LEO economy and the exploitation of the lunar environment.

Increasing efforts are being devoted to developing novel acoustic, electric, and magnetic actuation mechanisms for low-gravity multiphase flows, the latter being the focus of this seminar. Such mechanisms bring the promise of enabling or enhancing a wide range of space technologies. This talk introduces these new approaches and lays the theoretical foundations of the new field of low-gravity magnetohydrodynamics (LG-MHD). The equilibrium, stability, and modal response of magnetic liquid interfaces are addressed from an analytical and numerical perspective. The use of magnetic polarization and Lorentz forces in low-gravity fluid systems is discussed together with some of their applications, which include phase separation, cryogenics management, and low-gravity electrolysis. Ongoing microgravity research campaigns at ZARM’s drop tower and Blue Origin’s New Shepard are presented and preliminary experimental results are discussed.

Bio: Álvaro Romero-Calvo is a PhD Candidate in Aerospace Engineering Sciences at CU Boulder and current president of the student chapter of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research (ASGSR). Álvaro obtained his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Seville (Spain) in 2016, and his master’s degrees in aeronautical and space engineering from Politecnico di Milano (Italy) in 2019. He has published 14 journal articles and 12 conference papers on a variety of topics, receiving the La Caixa, Rafael del Pino, Fulbright, and CU Boulder Engineering Dean’s Graduate fellowships and the ASGSR Ken Souza 2020 award, among others. His microgravity experiments have flown at ZARM’s drop tower and (soon) Blue Origin’s New Shepard with support from national and international partners.