Design of an electrostatic lunar dust repeller for mitigating dust deposition and evaluation of its removal efficiency


C.-Y. Wu, N. Afshar-Mohajer, N. Sorloaica-Hickman, R. Moore




Journal of Aerosol Science



The dusty environment of the moon and the deposition of charged particles were troublesome in previous NASA explorations. In this study, an electrostatic lunar dust repeller (ELDR) was developed to mitigate the dust deposition problem. The ELDR consists of an arrangement of thin, needle-shaped electrodes in front of the protected surface to repel approaching, like-charged lunar dust. A discrete element method (DEM) was applied to track particle trajectories for determining the removal efficiency. Simulation results for single electrodes (L=5 cm, D=1 mm and L=10 cm, D=1 mm) both protecting a 5-cm×5-cm surface indicated that 4 kV and 1.5 kV were the respective-applied voltages required to achieve 100% protection from falling 20-µm lunar dust particles. The electrical particle–particle interaction was identified to be a beneficial factor. Finite element analysis concluded that an x-shaped pattern was the most effective arrangement of the ensemble electrodes to protect a 30-cm×30-cm surface. Modeling results showed that 2.2 kV and 1.4 kV were the minimum voltages applied to electrodes of length L=5 and 10 cm, respectively, on each electrode of the ensemble model to achieve complete removal of 20-µm-sized particles. The ensemble-electrode ELDR required lower applied voltage than the single-electrode ELDR, and in the most conservative scenario, it consumed only 9 times more electric power to protect an area 36 times larger.


Discrete element method, Electric Field, Electric Potential, Lunar dust, Particle removal efficiency

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