Electrostatic transport of lunar soil for in situ resource utilization

Hiroyuki Kawamoto*, Keita Shirai

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    25 Citations (Scopus)


    To realize a long-term lunar exploration, it is essential to develop a technology for transporting lunar soil for in situ resource utilization. We are developing a particle transport system that utilizes electrostatic traveling waves. The conveyer consists of parallel electrodes printed on a plastic substrate. Four-phase rectangular voltage is applied to the electrodes to transport particles on the conveyer. Mechanical vibration was applied to the conveyer to transport particles more efficiently. The results of our investigation are as follows: (1):The observed transport rate in air was 13.5 g/min for a conveyer with a width of 100:mm. By performing numerical calculations on the basis of the 3D distinct element method, we predicted that the system performance would improve in the high-vacuum and low-gravity environment on the moon. (2):Power consumption in this system is much less. It was only 10:W for a conveyer with an area of 1.0 m2 (3):We demonstrated an inclined and curved transport path as well as a flat and straight transport path. In addition, we demonstrated that transportation of particles through a tube and accumulation of scattered particles were also possible.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)132-138
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Aerospace Engineering
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jan


    • Aerospace engineering
    • Dynamics
    • Electrical equipment
    • Particles
    • Soils
    • Space exploration

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Aerospace Engineering
    • Civil and Structural Engineering
    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Materials Science(all)


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