Download Full Text (11.4 MB)
Dielectrophoresis (DEP) is an electrostatic force exerted on polarizable particles and structures constrained inside a non-uniform electric field, often finding applications in the control of cells on microscopic scales for particle separation and testing. No current commercial technology exists on large-scale applications that use DEP to manipulate macroscopic objects comparable to methods used by DEP on microscopic scales. Research into macroscopic DEP applications in the field is limited due to the higher voltage requirements for testing and problems presented by arcing. If large-scale manipulation of objects can be proven using DEP at high voltages it could range in applications such as artificial gravity for deep-space travel, fluid manipulation in industrial applications, particle separation from large quantities of fluids, or object levitation. We attempt to prove the feasibility of DEP on the macroscopic scale through the construction of niche electrode geometries necessary for inducing asymmetric electric fields and subsequently testing such geometries using a high-voltage power supply and various target materials. Using the proposed electrodes we gather force measurements in Newtons on a golf ball, wood sphere, marble, and ping-pong ball in a controlled testing fixture and at varying voltage levels. We conclude from testing that the asymmetry of the electrodes, along with the material properties of the target, play a heavy role in inducing a macroscopic DEP force. Therefore, this suggests that gravity-like forces can be achieved on the macroscopic scale on a limited range of dielectric materials using limited high voltage and creative electrode design. Future research will focus on modeling larger-scale DEP applications and achieving DEP levitation using higher voltages.
Honors Capstone Research (HCR)
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
College of Engineering
Dielectric Properties, Electric Field Gradients, Electromechanics, Electrokinetic, Levitation, Electrode Geometry, High-Voltage
Lueders, Jaden, "Development of Electrode Geometry for testing Dielectrophoresis (DEP) feasibility in applications of Artificial Gravity" (2023). Summer Community of Scholars Posters (RCEU and HCR Combined Programs). 409.