- Restrictions on Access:
- Unclassified, Unlimited, Publicly available.
- Under microgravity, the usual methods of placing granular solids into, or extracting them from, containers or storage vessels will not function. Alternative methods are required to provide a motive force to move the material. New configurations for microgravity regolith storage vessels that do not resemble terrestrial silos, hoppers, or tanks are proposed. The microgravity-compatible bulk-material storage vessels and exit feed configurations are designed to reliably empty and feed cohesive material to transfer vessels or conveying ducts or lines without gravity. A controllable motive force drives the cohesive material to the exit opening(s), and provides a reliable means to empty storage vessels and/or to feed microgravity conveying lines. The proposed designs will function equally well in vacuum, or inside of pressurized enclosures. Typical terrestrial granular solids handling and storage equipment will not function under microgravity, since almost all such equipment relies on gravity to at least move material to an exit location or to place it in the bottom of a container. Under microgravity, there effectively are no directions of up or down, and in order to effect movement of material, some other motive force must be applied to the material. The proposed storage vessels utilize dynamic centrifugal force to effect movement of regolith whenever material needs to be removed from the storage vessel. During simple storage, no dynamic motion or forces are required. The rotation rate during emptying can be controlled to ensure that material will move to the desired exit opening, even if the material is highly cohesive, or has acquired an electrostatic charge. The general concept of this Swirl Action Utilized for Centrifugal Ejection of Regolith (SAUCER) microgravity storage unit/dynamic feeder is to have an effective slot-hopper (based on the converging angles of the top and bottom conical section of the vessel) with an exit slot around the entire periphery of the SAUCER. The basic shape of such a unit is like two Chinese straw hats (douli) - one upside down, on the bottom, and another on top; or two wokpans, one upright on the bottom and another inverted on top, with a small gap between the upright and inverted pans or hats (around the periphery). A stationary outer ring, much like an unmounted bicycle tire, surrounds the gap between the two coaxial, nearly conical pieces, forming the top and bottom of the unit.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20130014434.
NASA Tech Briefs, August 2013; 14-15.
- Copyright, Distribution as joint owner in the copyright.
View MARC record | catkey: 15973455