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Ferrofluid Dynamics in Microgravity Conditions



Ferrofluids are colloidal suspensions of magnetic nanoparticles in a carrier liquid. It is beneficial, for both fundamental research and future applications of ferrofluids in space, to obtain reliable measurements of the dynamics of ferrofluids in microgravity. This field remains unexplored since experiments in microgravity are expensive and the access to associated facilities is limited. In this ongoing project, the free surface displacement of a ferrofluid solution was measured in microgravity conditions in the ZARM Drop Tower in Bremen as part of the Drop Your Thesis! 2017 programme run by the ESA Education Office. The ferromagnetic solution is subjected to a controlled magnetic field while an initial percussion is imposed. Preliminary results point to significant contributions to the analysis of ferrofluid dynamics and sloshing dynamics in microgravity.
Ferrouid Dynamics in Microgravity Conditions
Álvaro Romero-Calvo, Tim H. J. Hermans, Gabriel Cano Gómez, Lidia Parrilla Benítez, Miguel Ángel Herrada Gutiérrez, Elena Castro-Hernández
(TEP-219; TEP-956)
Image Credit: Isabel Romero Calvo
Experiment Setup
Top (A) and lateral (B) cameras
Visualization System
Upper platform assembly Laser pattern Top visualization system Percussion mechanism
Integrated visualization systemIntegrated setupExperiment capsuleExperiment setup
Ferrouids are colloidal suspensions of magnetic
nanoparticles in a carrier liquid. This ongoing project
studies their dynamic behaviour in microgravity
conditions as part of the Drop Your Thesis! 2017
programme run by the ESA Education Oce.
To quantify ferrouids sloshing
dynamics in microgravity.
To analyze relevant dynamic variables
to compare the existing numerical models.
The ferrouid deformation agrees qualitatively with
preliminary axisymmetric CFD predictions.
The kinematic analysis of an unexpectedly formed
ferrouid drop allows an unprecedent comparison between
dierent proposed dynamic models.
Lateral Visualization
a) t = -1 s b) t = 1 s c) t = 2 s d) t = 2.5 s
Free surface deformation
Top Visualization
The advancement of smart materials has substantially affected the sample preparation techniques. Recently, different smart materials like carbon‐based materials, magnetic nanoparticles, and ferrofluids have been used to separate analytes from different matrices. Among these, ferrofluids have attracted considerable attention due to their liquidity and magnetic controllability, facilitating their recovery during the extraction process. Ferrofluids are dispersions of magnetic powders in a carrier liquid with a great magnetic response. Ferrofluid can be moved with the help of positioning and strength of a magnetic field. So, the fluid can be positioned at the desired point very precisely. This review offers a comprehensive discussion of the modern trends in ferrofluid-based microextraction techniques from the introduction of ferrofluids as an extractant (2010) to 2020. Also, the challenges faced by each method have been investigated. This review details the essential factors in the synthesis of ferrofluids. Finally, the challenges and outlooks of ferrofluids are outlined.
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