FerrAS

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What is FerrAS

As the name FerrAS (Ferrofluid Application Study) suggests, we use ferrofluids in our experiments. These liquids consist of a carrier liquid, such as oil or water, with suspended iron particles, with which the fluid can be controlled by magnets. The team is in the process of developing and testing 5 different applications for ferrofluid and combining them in one experiment container. With this module we’ve applied for the next REXUS / BEXUS mission of the DLR and hope that we can test the experiments in 2022 on a sounding rocket under take-off loads and microgravity. FerrAS is already building on a successful “flight heritage”: With PAPELL we have already tested the use of ferrofluid on the ISS. The following experiments emerged from the promising results that we have obtained from Papell.

Motivation and interesting facts about our project

Vision

Ferrofluids offer the possibility of realizing systems with as few moving parts as possible. Moving parts are generally prone to abrasion and therefore often suffer from high levels of wear and tear. To avoid this, ferrofluid can be actuated via magnets in order to enable pumping , for example. Therefore there is great potential here, especially for space applications, since components can’t be easily exchanged, if at all.

Diverse

At FerrAS, not only is our experiment design diverse, we’ve got over 20 students from 6 courses from a multi-faceted team that is divided into 4 subsystems: Electronics, Mechanics, Software and Science.

Extraordinary

We use ferrofluids in all of our experiments. These extraordinary fluids consist of a carrier liquid such as oil, water or, as we also use it, liquid metal, with added fine iron particles. This allows the ferrofluids to be moved with magnets – this offers a wide range of possible applications.

Experiments
At FerrAS we want to develop and test 5 different ferrofluid applications. Among other things, were testing an experiment to investigate the Rosensweig instability, two different attitude control experiments, a cylinder pump, as well as an electrical and a thermal switch. The team is working tirelessly so hopefully we will have the opportunity to research the experiments under microgravity in the next Rexus cycle.

The Experiments

Rosensweig
The aim of the Rosensweig experiment is to investigate the influence of acceleration forces on the Rosensweig instability. Different ferrofluid-secondary fluid combinations are used, which could be of interest for future space applications. The occurrence of the Rosensweig instability under the various flight conditions is analyzed optically.
Pump / Valve

The aim of the pump experiment is to test a positive displacement pump based on ferrofluid. Since all critical mechanical parts (drive, seal, bearing) in this pump have been replaced by non-mechanical solutions, a long service life is aimed for. In the experiment, different pump geometries are tested at different speeds in order to test their suitability for operation in weightlessness.

S*******
ACS BLDC
The idea behind the development of a new type of attitude control component is to reduce the use of wear-intensive parts. The attitude control component (momentum wheel) is based on the functionality of a BLDC motor (brushless directed current motor). The structure of the stator that is equipped with coils is reused, but the rotor forms a heterogeneous system of ferrofluid and secondary fluid. The aim is to generate a uniform movement of the ferrofluid through targeted control of the coils. The ferrofluid transfers the angular momentum to the secondary fluid, which stores it (inertia).
ACS linear

Subsystems

Science

The science team is responsible for planning and designing the actual experiments for FerrAS. The main task of Science is to develop a sound theoretical and practical understanding of the individual experiments and to find ways of being able to test them while taking into account the requirements of the REXUS program. We are supported by all other subsystems for the design and building of the experiments.

Mechanics
The mechanics team has two main tasks: on the one hand, to support the scientific team in building and testing the experiments on the ground, on the other hand, to develop, manufacture and integrate the experiments for the REXUS experiment module. The group is also responsible for simulations of both mechanical and thermal stress in order to refine and test the design.
Elektronics
The electronics team deals with the electronic design of the experiments and the main system. This includes the selection of suitable components as well as the development and simulation of all necessary circuits. The group is also responsible for the manufacturing of the circuit boards and subsequent functional tests of all electronic system components.
Software

The software team programs both the main computer and the individual experiment computers. This is done in close cooperation with the electronics and science teams, as science selects the data to be collected and electronics the sensors with which this data is to be collected. The software in the main computer takes over the communication with the rocket and the control of the experiment computers. The software on the experiment computers is responsible for controlling actuators, reading out sensors and saving the data of the respective experiment.

Timeline

Erreicht
Ausstehend
Aktuell
Zukunft
August 2020 Letter of Intent

The submission of the Letter of Intent marks the first milestone for FerrAS. The next step in the application is our proposal. The deadline for this was postponed by one year due to Corona; This allows more time for us to further develop our experiments.

Proposal

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ca. 2024 REXUS lauch

News

REXUS/BEXUS

REXUS/BEXUS is an international student programme in cooperation between the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Swedish National Space Administration (SNSA). It is designed as a competition and offers students the opportunity to conduct their own ideas as technical experiments under conditions similar to those in space. These include the influence of space radiation or the behaviour under reduced gravity. The experiments can be carried out either on a nearly six-metre-long rocket (REXUS), which reaches the peak of its flight path in up to 100 kilometres, or using a so-called stratospheric balloon (BEXUS), which can reach an altitude of up to 35 kilometres in free flight. Throughout the entire project, the German student teams will be supervised by DLR Space Management in Bonn, and will thus learn about the complete process of a space project, from the idea itself to the publication of the results.

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