NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Electromagnetic Effects on Ferrofluid (NanoRacks-VCHS-Electromagnetic Ferrofluid) - 03.19.14
ISS Science for Everyone
Science Objectives for Everyone NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Electromagnetic Effects on Ferrofluid (NanoRacks-VCHS- Electromagnetic Ferrofluid) is a NanoLab project 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.
Science Results for Everyone
OpNom NanoRacks Module-18, NanoRacks Module-20
NanoRacks, LLC, Houston, TX, United States
Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
National Laboratory Education (NLE)
ISS Expedition Duration
September 2011 - March 2013
Previous ISS Missions
- Additional information is needed as to the effects of a variable magnetic field on Ferrofluids in microgravity. 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.
- NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Electromagnetic Effects on Ferrofluid (NanoRacks-VCHS- Electromagnetic Ferrofluid) adds to the general public knowledge of the effects of a variable magnetic field on ferrofluids in microgravity. By increasing the magnetic field on subsequent microgravity experiments, very unique and artistic 3D forms can be created bridging science and the arts.
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 and Module-20 are completely autonomous and only requires installation and removal. NanoRacks Module–18 does not return to earth. NanoRacks Module-20 returns to earth via a Russian Soyuz return capsule.
Crew interaction with Module-18 and Module-20 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.
Valley Christian School
NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Electromagnetic Effects on Ferrofluid Ground Test Unit. Image courtesy of Valley Christian High School.
+ View Larger Image
NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Electromagnetic Effects on Ferrofluid sample test. Image courtesy of NanoRacks, LLC.
+ View Larger Image