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Development of low density dusts for impact ionization experiments

M.J. Burchell3, M.J. Colea, M.J. Willis3, S.P. Armesb, A. Khanb and S.W. Bigger0

aUnit for Space Sciences and Astrophysics, University of Kent at Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NR, UK.

bSchooI of Chemistry, Physics and Environmental Sciences, University of Sussex, Falmor, Brighton BN1 9QJ, UK.

°School of Life Sciences and Technology, Victoria University, Melbourne City, Australia

Hypervelocity impacts of dust on spacecraft are simulated in the laboratory using Van de Graaff dust accelerators. In this paper results are presented for acceleration of a new class of particle in such accelerators, namely particles coated by conducting polymers. The polymers can be made into discrete particles themselves, be used as a thin overcoating on a core particle (dimensions 100 to 1000 nm), or can be used to mix smaller grains of minerals (order 10 - 20 nm) into a composite particle. Results for all three types of particle are presented.

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