Computational Fluid Dynamics Model of a Cyclone Separator
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Air cyclones are a promising technology for first stage air filtration in future lunar habitats where lunar dust mitigation is a mission critical concern. Our experimental work with cyclones in microgravity as part of NASA’s Systems Engineering Educational Discovery (SEED) program suggested that gravity does not play a significant role in the operation of the air cyclone. If correct, this result paves the way for further study of cyclone filtration in microgravity. Building on the SEED research, in this project we develop a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model of the cyclone used in the experimental work in reduced gravity to address the following questions: How does collection efficiency scale with gravity? What are the dynamical forces acting on particles in an air cyclone? Can we understand our results in terms of these dynamical forces?