Understanding combustion on Earth and in space 299

droplet/flame diameters decreases with time in a linear fashion, eventually extinguishing itself when it became too small to support itself.

The MSL-1 experiments not only provided additional data on that regime in much greater detail than was possible on Earth, but also investigated the other two regimes, which had never before been directly observed. ''In one of them'', said Dryer before the flight, ''the flame will decrease and the droplet will actually disappear before the flame structure extinguishes. In the last regime, we will find that the extinction of the droplet is actually defined by radiative loss from the flame. A very large droplet will be formed, burned and then extinguished with much of the mass remaining.''

On Earth, mere 1% increase in fuel efficiency - for example, by improving a car's mileage from 25 mpg to 25.25 mpg - would translate into savings of 100 million barrels per year or $5.5 million each day. One of the most important facilities on board Columbia for this research was the Combustion Module (CM)-1, developed by NASA's Lewis Research Center, which contained two experiments: Laminar Soot Processes (LSP) and the Structure of Flame Balls at Low Lewis Number (SOFBALL). Several minor difficulties were experienced during the activation of the facility, when a cable configuration had to be changed by Voss.

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