Aerodynamic Levitator with Active Stabilization for High-Temperature Materials Processing
An innovative Earth-based aerodynamic levitator with closed-loop stability control to enhance high temperature materials processing techniques is proposed. In current approaches, turbulence-induced instability imposes limits in levitator effectiveness and limits the sample dimension capacity. With the implementation of ALAS, position instability will be reduced by closed-loop active control of sample position within the suspension flow. Current 1-g aerodynamic levitation schemes rely on passive stability enhancement via geometric constraints or continuous operation of acoustic standing waves. The proposed levitator will operate with real-time sample position tracking. Vertical position control (levitation) will be provided by an external gas supply flowing through a flow nozzle or a high output sonic pump. Inert or reactive gases, with or without preheating, can be used for convective cooling or heating of the sample. Levitator gas flow rate will be adjusted by a computer controlled tunable micro-valve. Lateral position stability feedback will be provided by rectified gas jet generators "sonic pumps". The work described herein will utilize existing laboratory hardware and position control technology being developed for microgravity materials processing applications.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Principal Investigator:Eric E. Rice
Orbital Technologies Corp
402 Gammon Place, Suite 10 Madison, WI 53719
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