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Published February 1985 | public
Journal Article Open

Development of an electrostatic positioner for space material processing


This paper describes an electrostatic positioning instrument which was developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to enable experimenters to conduct containerless material science experiments in space. Samples that are to be studied are electrically charged and controlled by the electrostatic force produced by a set of properly arranged electrodes. Three different types of positioners are described, i.e., the dish type, the ring type, and the tetrahedral type. In all these systems, the positioning and the damping of the sample is accomplished by a feedback control system. The advantage of this electrostatic positioning method, in comparison to the other methods, such as acoustic and electromagnetic, lies in the fact that it can operate in a high vacuum and does not require the material to be electrically conductive as long as the material can carry a certain amount of charge.

Additional Information

©1985 American Institute of Physics (Received 6 February 1984; accepted 26 September 1984) We gratefully acknowledge Dr. Melvin Saffren for his contribution in the initial stage of this program. We would like to thank D. Migliori and D. Barber for their technical assistance together with S. Thomas and G> Yepez for their editorial assistance. The described in this paper was carried out by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.


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