Two coatings are required to remove/repel lunar dust particles from the mechanism or surface that needs protection. One coating must be a conductor, and one must be a dielectric. Tungsten carbide (WC) and aluminum oxide (Al2O3) were found to be best suited as the conductor and dielectric, respectively.

The conductive WC has wear and abrasion resistance, and the ability to be electrically activated to repel lunar dust. Electrical activation was achieved using a high-voltage power supply, alternating current through a two-phase interlocking WC grid capable of producing large voltage differentials that alternate at 50 Hz. The electrical activation creates an E-field around the WC that charges the lunar dust simulant, repelling it from the coated surface. The Al2O3 coating isolates the conductive traces from the substrate, and prevents wear and abrasion by lunar dust simulant. Wear-resistant conductive traces have been mated on abrasion-resistant dielectric coatings and electrically activated to repel lunar simulants JSC-1A and NULHT.

This work was done by James R. Gaier and Donald A. Jaworske of Glenn Research Center, and Timothy McKechnie and Michael Renfro of Plasma Processes, Inc.

Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to NASA Glenn Research Center, Innovative Partnerships Office, Attn: Steven Fedor, Mail Stop 4–8, 21000 Brookpark Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44135. Refer to LEW-19064-1.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the April, 2014 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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