High-speed Camera Shows How Tiny Particles Hit A Surface

Posted: Dec 2 2018, 6:19am CST | by , Updated: Dec 2 2018, 6:30am CST, in Latest Science News


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High-speed Camera Shows How Tiny Particles Hit a Surface

Impacts at high speeds produce a brief period of melting and damage a surface.

When a tiny particle hits a metal surface at high speed, it causes extensive damage. But until now, the details of this process haven’t been clearly understood.

For the first time, MIT researchers have captured the exact moment a tiny particle smashes into a surface using high speed camera and identified the mechanism and forces involved in the process. They were also able to predict when the particles will bounce away, stick or wear away a surface. Researchers have found that when a tiny particle strikes a metal surface, it causes a brief period of melting and this period of melting upon impact plays a crucial role in achieving desired results.

“The authors explore a new regime of high-speed impact in which the impacting particles actually melt,” said Jay Melosh, a specialist on impacts from Purdue University, who was not involved in this study. “In this regime they can add material from the impacting particles as well as eroding the target. This may eventually find a technological application, but the work presented in the paper is mainly an analysis of the impact mechanics and gives a quantitative assessment of how much of the target (substrate) is eroded as a function of the impact velocity.”

Such moments of impact are quite exciting, but they are difficult to capture. A major challenge is that the impact events take place extremely quickly, with particles travelling at upward of one kilometer per second. That’s three or four times faster than passenger jet airplanes.

Secondly, the particles themselves are so tiny that observing them in detail requires a highly sensitive instrument. To overcome these limitations, researchers used a microparticle impact testbed developed at MIT, which can record impact videos with frame rates of up to 100 million frames per second.

For the experiments, researchers used particles of about 10 micrometers and accelerated them using a laser beam. It was only the high-speed imaging that revealed that flying particles damage a surface by melting it upon impact.

Melosh says. “The experimental work is of very high quality. … I could imagine that it might have applications to some types of surface milling, similar to sandblasting but more aggressive than that method.”

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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