Dr. Lyon (Brad) King
Professor, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
research is focused on electric powered spacecraft propulsion.
Electric propulsion uses electrical energy to accelerate
propellants -- allowing for a spacecraft to be maneuvered in
space with high efficiency. One area of his research focuses
on propulsion systems for micro and nanosatellites. Advances
in satellite computational and communications systems have
allowed smaller satellites to perform missions which could
previously only have been accomplished with much larger and
more expensive spacecraft.
One enabling technology for these satellites is a scalable and efficient method of maneuvering these satellites in space. Existing propulsion methods, which are deployed on larger class satellites, cannot be scaled in size while maintaining their performance. One promising solution is called electrospray, which uses electrical energy to accelerate a liquid propellant to allow thrust to be achieved. In 2012, Dr. King’s research demonstrated a novel method of electrospray using ferrofluids. Ferrofluids are magnetic liquids which can be manipulated with the use of magnets.
To investigate the behavior of these exotic fluids, Dr. King’s research group has developed a series of numerical models. These models enable to fluid to be studied under electric and magnetic fields, which will be compared against experiments done in the laboratory under matching conditions. This work will be vital for further research of ferrofluid electrospray.
For more information, please visit Dr. King's website.