Numerical and experimental investigations have been carried out on transport of particles in an electrostatic travelling field. A three-dimensional hard-sphere model of the distinct element method was developed to simulate the dynamics of particles. Forces applied to particles in the model were the Coulomb force, the dielectrophoresis force on polarized dipole particles in a non-uniform field, the image force, gravity and the air drag. Friction and repulsion between particle-particle and particle-conveyer were included in the model to replace initial conditions after mechanical contacts. Two kinds of experiments were performed to confirm the model. One was the measurement of charge of particles that is indispensable to determine the Coulomb force. Charge distribution was measured from the locus of free-fallen particles in a parallel electrostatic field. The averaged charge of the bulk particle was confirmed by measurement with a Faraday cage. The other experiment was measurements of the differential dynamics of particles on a conveyer consisting of parallel electrodes to which a four-phase travelling electrostatic wave was applied. Calculated results agreed with measurements, and the following characteristics were clarified. (1) The Coulomb force is the predominant force to drive particles compared with the other kinds of forces, (2) the direction of particle transport did not always coincide with that of the travelling wave but changed partially. It depended on the frequency of the travelling wave, the particle diameter and the electric field, (3) although some particles overtook the travelling wave at a very low frequency, the motion of particles was almost synchronized with the wave at the low frequency and (4) the transport of some particles was delayed to the wave at medium frequency; the majority of particles were transported backwards at high frequency and particles were not transported but only vibrated at very high frequency.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)