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During the summer of 2007, research was conducted in collaboration Sandia National Laboratories to observe the effects of hypervelocity dust particles on thin films. The films were bombarded with particles whose velocities ranged from 8 to 12 Km/s. This simulates naturally occurring cosmic dust impacts on satellite/space instrument coverings. The impacted samples were then observed with a scanning electron microscope at the North Dakota State University. Crater characteristics such as depth and diameter are currently being studied. The results of these studies could determine the effectiveness of the films’ ability to withstand the rigors of spaceflight.
During the summer of 2001, Matt Matz, James Farnsworth and Heidi Manning supported Daniel Austin, Caltech, in the testing of his DustBuster Mass spectrometer. This was Daniel's Ph.D. thesis project. The results of this work have been published in the Journal of Geophysical Research. Also, Daniel's Ph.D. thesis describing his instrument and the work at Concordia are available at http://etd.caltech.edu/etd/available/etd-11072002-135150/unrestricted/Thesis.pdf
During the summer of 2002, Kirk Nelson, Jeff Yager and Heidi Manning in collaboration with Ian Campbell of Los Alamos National Laboratory began a study of hypervelocity impacts on piezoelectric pins. They were attempting to calibrate these pins for possible use as dust detectors. This work was continued during the summer of 2003.
In 2002-2003, Seth Koterba, Todd Ferguson and Heidi Manning supported Jochen Marschall, SRI International, in his studies of hypervelocity particle impacts on aerogel. Our traditional, 1-2 micron carbonyl iron dust did not produce tracks large enough to see. We attempted to use 20-40 micron dust, but had limited success in getting these particles to reach the aerogel. The ones that did make it through the accelerator, did not produce any visible tracks.
During the summer of 2003, William Duppler, Carolynn Garcia and Heidi Manning collaborated with Jochen Marschall of SRI International to study the effects of hypervelocity impact on Ultra-High Temperature Ceramics. The materials we have studied are ZrB2/SiC and HfB2/SiC. Impacts were made under various conditions, and the surfaces of these materials were examined with an SEM/EDX.
Impact of a carbonyl iron particle on a ZrB2/SiC sample.