Studying the effects of a variable magnetic field on Ferrofluids in microgravity. Ferrofluids are colloidal liquids made of nanoscale ferromagnetic, or ferrimagnetic, particles suspended in an organic solvent.
Customer Name: Valley Christian Schools
Research: Ferrofluid Effects in Microgravity
NanoRacks Facility: NanoLab Platform
Mission Duration: 03 2012 – 03 2012
Mission Status: Complete
More Info: From NASA website
This is the first ferrofluid experiment to be conducted in a microgravity environment. The ferrofluid is photographed before and after the application of a known magnetic field to determine the ferrofluid movement and physical changes.
The NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Electromagnetic Effects on Ferrofluid (NanoRacks-VCHS- Electromagnetic Ferrofluid) in microgravity experiment is composed of a small bottle containing ferrofluid in an organic solution, five electromagnets surrounding the bottle, electromagnet current drive circuitry, a programmable Stamp Microcontroller, and a digital camera.
The electromagnets are turned on separately or in combination with one or more of the other electromagnets. The resulting magnetic field causes the ferrofluid to move along the created magnetic field. The digital camera takes a photo of the ferrofluid before and after the application of the magnetic field. The electromagnets are powered on either via pre-programmed Stamp Microcomputer commands or from the ground via the crewmember’s laptop.
Since ferrofluids can be moved by the application of a magnetic field, they could be made part of a restartable space liquid propulsion system that would be moved toward the nozzle before ignition. This would eliminate the need to have heavy liquid containment screens within the propellant tanks.
The color photos from this experiment are very beautiful and artistic and will help bridge science and the arts.
NanoRacks Module-18 is completely autonomous and only requires installation and removal. NanoRacks Module–18 does not return to earth.
Crew interaction with Module-18 is limited to transferring the NanoRacks locker Insert from the launch vehicle to the ISS, installation and activation of the NanoRacks Frames into the EXPRESS Rack Locker, cleaning of the air inlet filter (as necessary), and data retrieval (as needed) during the mission.
See the results at Valley Christian High School.