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Imitating ice for room-temp experiments

  1. Sep 28, 2012 #1

    I'm trying to come up with ideas for ways to simulate extraction methods for asteroid mining. I've got a few ideas based off of internet & database searches, and have an idea I'd like to work on. It involves the separation of materials using centripetal force. Materials would separate into layers based off of their density, right?

    The first thing that I'd like to try to separate is ice from the rest of the mined material. I'm looking for materials that are solid at room temperature but have a similar density to ice. Any suggestions?

    Any suggestions for other aspects of the experiment would be appreciated as well.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 29, 2012 #2


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    Presumably the idea is to centrifuge the mix until the increased pressure melts the ice?
  4. Sep 29, 2012 #3


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    If they are liquids, gases or you have some other way to keep them in motion (maybe air flow inside?). If you just take some dirt and whirl it around, it will not separate into anything.

    Plastic (especially LDPE) and wood, see Wikipedia.
  5. Sep 29, 2012 #4
    Is there some way to make the material more fluid so that they do separate, even as solids? For instance, what if I used small uniform spheres of different material in the centrifuge?
  6. Sep 29, 2012 #5


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    If you manipulate the shape of all objects, it is easier to sort them in that step instead of changing their shape.
    Shaking would be another concept, but it tends to separate objects by size, too (could be useful or bad, no idea).
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