Soft Matter

Split screen depicting colloids in a scattered pattern on Earth and as a connected pattern in microgravity.
Colloids | Liquid Crystals | Foams | Gels | Granular Flows

The Soft Matter Discipline studies binary mixtures that consist of liquid-solid, liquid-liquid or model liquid-gas phases. Research areas include colloidal systems, liquid crystals, foams, gels, emulsions and granular flows. This program includes soft condensed matter themes that span a variety of physical states that are easily deformed by thermal stresses or thermal fluctuations. In microgravity, sedimentation and convection masking effects are removed so that the interaction of the dispersed phase and the dispersion medium can be observed on a timescale not available on Earth.


Check out the recent publications from participating NASA scientists, Principal Investigators, and contributors from universities and labs around the world:

Patrick McKackin, Joe Adam, Shannon Griffin, Amir Hirsa. “Amyloidogenesis via interfacial shear in a containerless biochemical reactor aboard the International Space Station.” Npj microgravity, September 20, 2022

Barnes L, Khusid B, Kondic L, Meyer WV, Oza AU. "Continuum modeling of colloid-polymer mixtures in microgravity." Intended to be presented at the American Physical Society March Meeting, Denver, Colorado, March 2-6, 2020 (cancelled due to COVID).

Barnes L, Khusid B, Kondic L, Meyer WV, Oza AU. "Modelling of colloid-polymer mixtures in microgravity." Presented at the 36th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research, Virtual Meeting, November 5-6, 2020.

Sherman ZM, Swan JW. "Spontaneous electrokinetic magnus effect." Physical Review Letters. 2020 May 22;124(20):208002. , May-2020

Mhanna, Ramona, Yan Gao, Isaac Van Tol, Ela Springer, Ning Wu, and David WM Marr. "Chain Assembly Kinetics from Magnetic Colloidal Spheres." Langmuir (2022).

Gross, Sierra J., Meng-Ting Hsieh, Daniel R. Mumm, Lorenzo Valdevit, and Ali Mohraz. "Alleviating expansion-induced mechanical degradation in lithium-ion battery silicon anodes via morphological design." Extreme Mechanics Letters (2022): 101746.

Ching, Herman, and Ali Mohraz. "Bijel rheology reveals a 2D colloidal glass wrapped in 3D." Soft Matter (2022).

Nabavizadeh SA, Lenart R, Eshraghi M, Felicelli SD, Tewari SN, Grugel RN. "Dendritic solidification of Succinonitrile-0.24 wt% water alloy: A comparison with microgravity experiments for validating dendrite tip velocity." Acta Astronautica. 2020 Oct;175:163-

Masoud G, Upadhyay SR, Rajamure RS, Tewari SN, Grugel RN, Poirier DR, Lauer M. "Primary dendrite array morphology in Al-7 wt% Si alloy samples directionally solidified aboard the International Space Station." Journal of Crystal Growth. 2021

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