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The Ferros: Participating in ESA's Drop Your Thesis! 2017

The Ferros is an international student team participating in ESA’s Drop Your Thesis! 2017, an European Space Agency Education programme in which university students design, build and test an experiment in microgravity conditions at the ZARM Drop Tower of Bremen, Germany.

The student team is composed by two Master students from the University of Seville in Spain and one Master student from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

The team is investigating the behaviour of ferrofluids in microgravity. Ferrofluids are suspensions of magnetic nanoparticles in a liquid carrier. Their magnetic susceptibility is several orders of magnitude larger than that of other magnetic fluids, which makes ferrofluids very attractive for many applications, both on Earth and in space. The behaviour of ferrofluids in space is significantly different from those in a terrestrial environment because of the absence of a major body force such as gravity. The project will investigate the free surface movement of a water-based ferrofluid as a function of an external magnetic field strength and the initial system acceleration.

It is difficult to detect the movement of a ferrofluid because of its black and opaque nature. The Ferros have come up with a revolutionary detection technique in which a laser pattern is projected on the surface of the ferrofluid, which is filmed with a high speed camera. When the free surface moves up or down, the camera captures a lateral translation of the laser stripes, that can be used for a numerical representation of the free surface dynamics. For the extensive testing of this system, two Photron high speed cameras that were lent by Álava Ingenieros are employed.

The Ferros will execute their experiment between the 5th and 17th of November.


The Ferros_Participating in ESAs Drop Your Thesis
Figure 1: The Ferros team with the experiment setup (including Álava Ingenieros Photron cameras)

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