Gravitational wave was predicted by Einstein's theory of general relativity. Nobody, however, accomplished to directly catch the wave. Scientific research projects to observe this wave are ongoing worldwide, such as TAMA, LIGO, VIRGO and GEO. TAMA, a 300m baseline laser interferometer at the Mitaka campus of the National Astronomical Observatory, is close to its end of construction. However, it may not be possible to detect by these interferometers in a limited observational time because of a low production rate of the coalescences of neutron star binaries. Therefore it is important to raise the sensitivity by more than two orders, which is realized by the project of a large-scale cryogenic gravitational wave telescope (LCGT), where cryogenic mirrors are adopted to reduce thermal noise and higher power lasers are introduced to reduce photon shot noise. This interferometer has been installed inside the Kamioka mine in Gifu Prefecture.
In the Japanese hydrogen project, World Energy Network (WE-NET) for realizing reusable clean energy systems using hydrogen, conceptual designs of large-mass liquid hydrogen storage systems for ground and transportation tanks have been studied. For completing such large storage systems, of which scales would reach to that of commercialized liquid natural gas (LNG) facilities, this study has concluded that thermal insulation structures satisfying large-tank requirements should be developed. In order to evaluate thermal performances of various devised insulation structures between 20 and 300K, we have developed a large experimental apparatus with a double-guarded flat plate boil-off calorimeter method. This apparatus can test various kinds of specimens with allowable dimensions; diameter 1.2m, up to thickness 0.3m, to provide the thermal data needed for designing a full-scale storage tank. This paper describes the abstract of the devised large-mass liquid hydrogen storage tank, the experimental errors of the experimental apparatus to be considered, and the results of the background and heater tests for evaluating its performance. The background test result showed that heat transfer to the measuring vessel was 0.1W, small enough to satisfy apparatus performance requirements.
The heat transport phenomena near the critical point of fluids were investigated in this study. The very-high thermal compressibility and very-low thermal diffusivity near the critical point of fluids affect thermal energy propagation and lead to the formation of weak acoustic waves as the carrier of thermal energy. The heat transport phenomenon is called the “piston effect”, which is one of the thermodynamic phenomena that occur near the critical point of substances. The piston effect in supercritical nitrogen was investigated using a laser holography interferometer. An experimental apparatus was designed for the visualization study of the piston effect in supercritical nitrogen. Heat was added in step functions from a planar heater in a facedown orientation on the ceiling. The infinite-fringe method with a double-exposure technique was used in this experiment. We successfully observed a heat transport phenomenon piston effect, which is considered to be the 4th mechanism of heat transfer.