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Date of Award

12-2009

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering

Department

Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Dr. Sathya Gangadharan

Committee Member

Dr. Reda Mankbadi

Committee Member

Dr. Ram Nayar

Committee Member

Dr. Efstratios Nikolaidis

Committee Member

Dr. Chelakara S. Subfarrtaniam

Committee Member

Dr. Sorin Cioc

Abstract

Human kind is poised to take the next "giant step" in space exploration, the manned mission to Mars, among other things. But before any plans for such long term habitation on an alien planet, there has to be consideration towards prevention and removal of bacterial contamination. Bacterial contamination or rather degradation of materials was considered of negligible importance. Bacterial degradation can be serious for long-term manned space mission, more so because there is no way to obtain quick replacements. For such conditions, a new innovative way of bacterial removal has been proposed wherein the bacteria is removed with no damage to the underlying material using controlled cavitation. The proposed method involves sonication or bombarding the material surface with cavitation bubbles to remove the bacterial biofilm.

This thesis includes the various experiments done with respect to removal rate for varying parameters (i.e. depth, sonication time, etc). Discussion is presented as to advantages and possible limitations.

The advantages of this procedure include non-invasive surgical procedure to clean prosthetics as well as a cost-effective way of cleaning bacterial growth on a surface. The limitations include the fact that this procedure generates high acoustic waves which causes disturbance to people.

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