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Chang-Yu Wu

Efficiency Estimation of an Electrostatic Lunar Dust Collector by Discrete Element Method

NIMA AFSHAR-MOHAJER, Chang-Yu Wu, Nicoleta Sorloacia-Hickman

University of Florida

     Abstract Number: 127
     Last modified: March 31, 2011

     Working Group: Control Technology

The accumulation of solar-based charges on lunar grains levitates like-charged particles. The lunar dust deposit on sensitive and costly surfaces of investigative devices acts as a barrier for prospective lunar explorations. Benefitting from naturally charged trait of lunar particles, an electrostatic lunar dust collector (ELDC) is introduced by this study as a highly efficient system for particle collection and equipment protection in the vacuum.

The ELDC includes a grid layer of conducting plates placed in front of the surface to be protected, and it collects falling particles by providing electric field between the plates. The Discrete Element Method (DEM) was applied for evaluating the collection efficiency at the worst case scenario. Before setting up the model, an Eulerian model was developed to predict the numerical results in order to validate the DEM model by comparing DEM-based results with theoretical analysis in absence of electrical particle interactions. The results from DEM model including electrical particle interactions showed that providing electric field of 6.4 kV/m between the plates in the worst case scenario was adequate for collecting all the particles smaller than 100 micro-m. The model will then be run for polydisperse incoming particles (1 100 micro-m) to assess the role of polydispersion in collection efficiency. The last set of simulations will be sensitivity analysis on surface potential for monodisperse particles. In summary, this study investigates the influence of different variables on collection efficiency of the proposed system to demonstrate the feasibility of the highly efficient ELDC for lunar dust control.

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