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Keywords:

  • ZBLAN;
  • Microgravity;
  • Crystallization

Abstract

One of the promising new areas of materials research is in the field of microgravity. Microgravity experimentation enables new materials to be developed and traditional materials to be improved, which cannot be completed under terrestrial conditions. Recent experiments on ZBLAN (ZrF4–BaF2–LaF3–AlF3–NaF) glass have shown that, when heated, there is a crystallization dependency on gravity. This crystallization dependency limits the optical transmissibility of this material, due to crystallites forming during the fiber drawing process. ZBLAN glass has the theoretical potential for optical transmission in the range of 0.3 –7 µm, which would facilitate much needed mid-infrared (IR) fiber technology. Past researchers have completed ZBLAN crystallization microgravity experiments, with limited details on the experimental technique and analysis methods. This study demonstrates an alternative experimental technique for ZBLAN microgravity testing and postprocessing techniques that reveal crystallinity in the sample.