Tailored Force Fields for Flexible Fabrication

The concept of tailored force fields is seen as an enabler for the construction of large scale space structures. Manufacturing would take place in space using in-situ resources thereby eliminating the size and weight restriction commonly placed on space vehicles and structures. This thesis serves as the first investigation of opening the way to a generalized fabrication technology by means of force fields. Such a technology would be non-contact, flexible, and automated. The idea is based on the principle that waves carry momentum and energy with no mass transport. Scattering and gradient forces are generated from various types of wave motion. Starting from experiments on shaping walls using acoustic force fields, this thesis extends the technology to electromagnetic fields. The interaction physics of electromagnetic waves with dielectric material is studied. Electromagnetic forces on neutral dielectric material are shown to be analogous to acoustic forces on sound-scattering material. By analogy to the acoustic experiments, force fields obtained by optical tweezers are extended to longer wavelength electromagnetic waves while remaining in the Rayleigh scattering regime. Curing of the surface formed takes place by use of a higher frequency beam that scans the surface and melts a subsurface layer enabling a sintering effect to take place between the particles. The resulting capability is explored at its extremes in the context of building massive structures in Space. A unification of these areas is sought through a generalization of the various theories provided in the literature applicable for each field.
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