S Cephei (Suspension of Carbon Nanotubes under dielectrophoretic Influence) is an experiment which shall document the alignment of carbon-nanotubes (CNTs) by dielectrophoresis under microgravitational influence.
The institute of aerospace technology of the TU Dresden on CNTs. The student team SS Cephei is developing and executing an experiment for the alignment of CNTs under microgravitational influence. Two team members will write an academic paper about the experiment.
The field of application of CNTs is very versatile due to their special thermal, electrical and mechanical properties. They can be used, to develop materials for ESD and EMI protection, sensor technology and mechanical reinforcement, which opens up a wide range of applications in industry and research. For this it is necessary to understand the basic properties and thus make them accessible for manufacturing processes. Since the properties are largely dependent on the alignment of the CNTs, it is essential to understand the alignment process in detail. “S Cephei” will therefore observe and document this process while using the REXUS platform to exclude gravitational influences during the microgravity phase of the flight.
The alignment is achieved in the experiment by dielectrophoresis as a result of an electric field, whereby the electric field is caused by applying an alternating voltage to a capacitor. This process is influenced by temperature, viscosity of the suspension, frequency and amplitude of the alternating voltage, and the type and quantity of CNTs. Several cameras are used for documentation, which allows a three-dimensional model to be generated by software, thus improving the understanding of the process.