Dr. Lyon (Brad) King

Professor, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Lyon (Brad) King Dr. King's 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.