Cryogenics and its Space Applications

Published : 01-01-2015 by : Athul Suresh

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Cryogenics is the study of how to get to low temperatures and of how materials behave when they get there. Besides the familiar temperature scales of Fahrenheit and Celsius (Centigrade), cryogenicists use other temperature scales, the Kelvin and Rankine temperature scale. Although the apparatus used for spacecraft is specialized, some of the general approaches are the same as used in everyday life. Cryogenics involves the study of low temperatures from about 100 Kelvin to absolute zero.

One interesting feature of materials at low temperatures is that the air condenses into a liquid. The two main gases in air are oxygen and nitrogen. Liquid oxygen, "lox" for short, is used in rocket propulsion. Liquid nitrogen is used as a coolant. Helium, which is much rarer than oxygen or nitrogen, is also used as a coolant. In more detail, cryogenics is the study of how to produce low temperatures or also the study of what happens to materials when you have cooled them down.

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