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A laboratory test of the electrification phenomenon in wind-blown sand flux

Keywords: wind-blown sand flux,charged sand particles,average charge,electric field strength,laboratory test

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The measured data in the wind-tunnel tests show that the wind-blown sand particles acquired a negative charge when their diameters are smaller than 250 ?m and positive charge when their diameters are larger than 500 ?m, which confirms Latham’s assumption that the large particles in wind-blown sand flux acquired positive charge while negative charge developed on small ones. In the meanwhile, the measured data also show that the average charge-to-mass ratio for wind-blown sand particles decreases with the increase of the particle diameter and the wind velocity, and increases with the rise of height. The electric field in wind-blown sand flux is mainly formed by the moving charged sand particles. Its direction is vertical to the Earth’s surface and upward, which is opposite to that of the fair-weather field. The electric field increases with wind velocity and height increasing. These experimental results will lay the foundation for developing the theoretical analysis of the electrification phenomenon in wind-blown sand flux.


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