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Corona Discharge and Electrostatic Precipitation in Carbon Dioxide Under Reduced Pressure Simulating Mars Atmosphere

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3 Author(s)
Hai Long Pang ; Lab. d'Electrostatique et de Mater. Dielectriques, Univ. Joseph Fourier, Grenoble ; Pierre Atten ; Jean-Luc Reboud

In this paper, the possibility of using electrostatic precipitation (ESP) to clean the gas above solar panels of modules on the surface of planet Mars is investigated. Results are presented on corona discharge in carbon dioxide gas under reduced pressure ranging from 5 to 10 mbar with different electrode configurations. The corona-discharge inception voltage and the threshold of back discharge have been measured for three electrode configurations. The charging of suspended particles of micrometer size in the gas by unipolar ions is examined. Under the considered reduced pressure, diffusion charging very likely dominates over field charging. The drift velocity of charged particles is then estimated and is found to be not drastically lower than in industrial precipitators for fine particles despite the much lower electric field which can be applied under reduced pressure. Finally, the results of a laboratory experiment examining the dust deposit onto photovoltaic cells are presented. It appears that ESP reduces the rate of a Mars analog dust deposit and might be used in order to increase the lifetime of solar panels during Mars missions.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications  (Volume:45 ,  Issue: 1 )