CLASS Seminar

Title: Cloud Manipulation in Protoplanetary Dust Simulation


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

10:30 a.m




Abstract: Physical simulation of early stages of the protoplanetary matter formation is the goal of the European Space Agency project Interaction in Cosmic and Atmospheric Particle Systems (ICAPS) and of the emerging Laplace project. To start the experiment, the dust is mechanically dispersed and injected into the chamber where grains stop due to drag in gas at 30-100 Pa pressure.  Microgravity prevents rapid sedimentation and allows observing unperturbed Brownian agglomeration. A series of orbital precursor and short duration microgravity experiments revealed the necessity of having a system allowing manipulating with a free-floating dust cloud in long-duration experiments.


The Cloud Manipulation System (CMS) provides the following 3D-functions: 1) cloud levitation against perturbations, 2) cloud scanning through the field of view of high-resolution optics, 3) transportation of a chosen agglomerate for detailed investigation by dedicated optics, 4) cloud centring in dynamic balancing (trapping) aimed at boosting agglomeration via increasing the particle number concentration.


  Experiments on the CMS breadboard in short duration microgravity conditions of the Bremen drop tower succeeded in rapid growth of extended agglomerates, formation of complex three-dimensional cloud patterns, allowed observing controlled cloud displacement, cloud trapping, particle separation over their electrical charge.


Biography: Dr. Andrei Vedernikov is a senior scientist and project manager at Microgravity Research Centre, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium. He has graduated from the Physics department of Moscow State University, worked at Space Research Institute Russian Academy of Sciences and at Chemistry department of Moscow State University. Research work started in crystallography, went through crystal growth processes, mass crystallization in liquids and gases, with current focus on aerosol and dust cloud microphysics where microgravity may be beneficial.


PI and Co-PI of various microgravity experiments from space station Salyut (MIR’s precursor), sounding rocket MASER, to tens of parabolic flights and drop tower campaigns.


Leading scientist in the development of the Cloud Manipulation System for the European Space Agency’s project Interaction in Space and Cosmic Particle Systems (ICAPS).