Electrospray from an ionic liquid ferrofluid utilizing the rosensweig instability

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



© 2013, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc. All rights reserved. A new type of electrospray technology that could be used for space propulsion was developed at Michigan Technological University. This thruster utilized an ionic liquid ferrofluid that was synthesized by suspending magnetic nanoparticles in an ionic liquid carrier solution so that the resulting fluid is superparamagnetic. The magnetic properties of the fluid were exploited to create self-assembling static arrays of surface peaks which were then amplified with an applied electric field until ion current was emitted from the array. The current and voltage profile of the emitting array was measured and its ability to self-heal after a damaging event was observed.

Publication Title

49th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference