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An electrostatic levitator for high-temperature containerless materials processing in 1-g

Rhim, Won-Kyu and Chung, Sang K. and Barber, Daniel and Man, Kin F. and Gutt, Gary and Rulison, Aaron and Spjut, R. Erik (1993) An electrostatic levitator for high-temperature containerless materials processing in 1-g. Review of Scientific Instruments, 64 (10). pp. 2961-2970. ISSN 0034-6748. http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:RHIrsi93

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Abstract

This article discusses recent developments in high-temperature electrostatic levitation technology for containerless processing of metals and alloys. Presented is the first demonstration of an electrostatic levitation technology which can levitate metals and alloys (2–4 mm diam spheres) in vacuum and of superheating-undercooling-recalescence cycles which can be repeated while maintaining good positioning stability. The electrostatic levitator (ESL) has several important advantages over the electromagnetic levitator. Most important is the wide range of sample temperature which can be achieved without affecting levitation. This article also describes the general architecture of the levitator, electrode design, position control hardware and software, sample heating, charging, and preparation methods, and operational procedures. Particular emphasis is given to sample charging by photoelectric and thermionic emission. While this ESL is more oriented toward ground-based operation, an extension to microgravity applications is also addressed briefly. The system performance was demonstrated by showing multiple superheating-undercooling-recalescence cycles in a zirconium sample (Tm=2128 K). This levitator, when fully matured, will be a valuable tool both in Earth-based and space-based laboratories for the study of thermophysical properties of undercooled liquids, nucleation kinetics, the creation of metastable phases, and access to a wide range of materials with novel properties.


Item Type:Article
Additional Information:©1993 American Institute of Physics (Received 15 March 1993; accepted 19 July 1993) The authors would like to thank Professor R. Bayuzick and Professor W. Hofmeister for their interest and guidance, and Dr. K. Ohsaka for providing us with the alloys. One of the authors (W. K. Rhim) would like to dedicate this paper to his long time friend and collaborator, Dr. Daniel D. Elleman, who died prior to the completion of this work. He is greatly missed. This work was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Subject Keywords:LEVITATION; MATERIALS HANDLING EQUIPMENT; ELECTROSTATIC DEVICES; POSITIONING; SPHERES; PERFORMANCE TESTING; SUPERHEATING; VACUUM SYSTEMS; ZIRCONIUM; TEMPERATURE RANGE 1000–4000 K; METALS; USES
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:RHIrsi93
Persistent URL:http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:RHIrsi93
Alternative URL:http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.1144475
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:1388
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:14 Jan 2006
Last Modified:11 Dec 2014 00:27

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