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    Personal information
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    Candidate Profile
     Date Submitted:23-01-2017
     Last Modified:24-01-2017 (07:21)
    Job information
     Current job:Graduate Research Assistant
     Employment Term:Permanent
     Job location:Anywhere
     Date available:within 3months
     Industry:Satellite Manufacturers and Subcontractors
     KeywordsIn-space propulsion, design, testing, SEM, TEM, test system diagnostics



    Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Engineering Enterprise, Magna Cum Laude

    Certificate, Global Technological Leadership

    September 2006 – May 2010                            Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI

    Masters of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Magna Cum Laude

    Fall 2010 – May 2013                                       Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI

    Doctor of Philosophy, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

    Expected April 2017                                         Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI



    I began my graduate work in Michigan Tech’s Ion Space Propulsion (ISP) Lab during the fall of 2010. My research interests include electrospray thrusters, field emission electric propulsion (FEEP), in situ field visualization, and ionic liquid ferrofluids. My research focus is in electrospray propulsion, specifically needle and capillary electrospray thrusters. These thrusters are highly efficient relative to others space propulsion devices.  They use an electrostatic field to emit ions and droplets of a propellant through the principle of electrostatic extraction. Hundreds of ionic liquids have been or are being used as propellants, including EMI-BF4 and EMIM-NTf2, the propellants used primarily in the ISP Lab.  In the spring of 2011 I constructed a glass capillary colloid thruster and was able to collect a mass spectrograph using an ExB filter of an electrospray beam using EMI-BF4 as the propellant. The measurements proved that a simple inexpensive diagnostic tool could be used to accurately measure basic beam characteristics of electrospray devices.

    From 2012 to 2014 I investigated methods of visualization the electric fields that are necessary to produce the electrospray beams in these devices. One method used a grid of lines placed beneath a biased sharp solid tip needle within a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The SEM electron beam was deflected by the needle and interacts with the grid of line in such a ways that the resulting image has “contour” lines correlating to the spatial electric field strength. A similar method within a transmission electron microscope (TEM) uses a Mollenstedt biprism placed downstream from an electrospray emitter and a technique called electron holography, which is used to extract the spatial electrostatic potential from the phase shift of the waves caused by the biprism. I was able to visualize an ionic liquid electrospray in-situ, results of which I presented in the summer of 2013.

    I am a recipient of the 2013 NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship which funds my doctoral research in ionic liquid ferrofluid electrospray studies using time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Consequently, in 2014 I began investigating the spectral mass composition of an EMIM-NTf2 ionic liquid ferrofluid (ILFF) electrospray beam that is emitted from a capillary needle and the Rosensweig instability. Using a Rosensweig instability for electrospray is a novel approach to satellite propulsion developed by the Isp Laboratory. Past electrospray propulsion devices require time-extensive, expensive and/or fragile structures as emission sites; the Rosensweig instability provides peaks within seconds of an applied magnetic field, and can regenerate if damaged. Understanding how these differ from other electrospray propulsion devices will determine how beneficial they can be to the field. In completing this research, I have garnered extensive experience using time-of-flight mass spectrometers, electrospray diagnostic tools (Faraday cups, QCM, steering lenses), as well as the design and construction of actively-fed capillary electrospray systems using multiple propellants.


    As an undergraduate I was involved in Michigan Tech’s Aerospace Enterprise where I served as the project manager for the High Altitude Autonomous Research Platform (HAARP) glider and Photogrammetry Small UAV project teams. I also worked on the design and fabrication and testing of the UAV airframe.  This included computer-aided modeling, computational fluid dynamics simulations, and finite element analysis to ensure the designs fit our sponsor’s requirements.

    Also during my time as an undergraduate I completed a program called Pavlis Institute for Global Technological Leadership.  This involved 4 years of coursework and project work, including a 2009 facilitated a research project on human sanitary problems in Ghana, Africa.  A six-week, in-country study was done during the summer of 2009, which led to the construction of a community center the following summer. My time with the institute concluded with our project team leading a high school Summer Youth Program (SYP) on leadership and teamwork.

    From May to August 2008 I worked at Woodward as a Test Engineering Intern. During the internship I ran procedural tests on three GE Healthcare pneumatic servo controller test stands to diagnose a problematic servo controller. I also created hydraulic and pneumatic system drawings of 15 test stands, documented all Electronic Test Stands (ETS) and assessed future viability, and formatted new and current test computers with advanced setup and company programming.



    NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship (NSTRF)

    Funded by NASA

    $68k per year; 4 years of funding

    PI: Lyon B. King, Professor

    Co-PI: Kurt J. Terhune, Graduate Research Assistant


    Michigan/Air Force Center of Excellence in Electric Propulsion (MACEEP)

    Funded by Air Force

    $1M over 5 years (Funding for 3 graduate students)

    PI: Lyon B. King, Professor 


    2016 – Presented at the 52nd AIAA/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference (JPC)

    2014 – Presented at the 50th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference (JPC)

    2013 – Presented at the 49th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference (JPC)

    2011 – Presented at the 32nd International Electric Propulsion Conference (IEPC)

    2010 – Attended the 46th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference (JPC)

    2010 – Presented on PSUAV for Michigan Tech Department of Science and Technology Board of Control

    2009 – Presented on HAARP Glider at Aerospace Reception



    Terhune, K.J., King, L.B., He, K., Cumings, J. "Radiation-induced solidification of ionic liquid under extreme electric field," Nanotechnology, Vol. 27, No. 37 (2016). doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/27/37/375701


    Terhune, K.J., King, L.B.,"Ion and Droplet Mass Measurements of an Electrospray Emitter using an ExB Filter," IEPC-2011-299, 32nd International Electric Propulsion Conference, 11-15 September 2011, Wiesbaden Germany.

    Terhune, K.J., King, L.B., He, K., Cumings, J.,"In-situ visualization of ionic liquid electrospray emission using transmission electron microscopy," 49th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference & Exhibit, Paper No. AIAA-2013-3822, 14-17 July 2013, San Jose, CA.

    Terhune, K.J., King, L.B., Hause, M.L., Prince, B.D., Jain, N., Hawkett, B.S., "Species measurements in the beam of an ionic liquid ferrofluid electrospray source," 50th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference & Exhibit, Paper No. AIAA-2014-3694, 28-30 July 2014, Cleveland, OH.

    Terhune, K.J., King, L.B., Prince, B.D., Jain, N., Hawkett, B.S., "The effects of magnetic surface stress on electrospray of an ionic liquid ferrofluid," 52nd AIAA/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference, Paper No. AIAA-2016-4549, 25-27 July 2016, Salt Lake City, UT.

    Terhune, K.J., King, L.B., Prince, B.D., Jain, N., Hawkett, B.S., "Species measurements in the beam of an ionic liquid ferrofluid capillary electrospray source under magnetic stress," 52nd AIAA/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference, Paper No. AIAA-2016-4550, 25-27 July 2016, Salt Lake City, UT.


    2016 – Outstanding Scholarship Award Recipient

    2013 – NASA Space Technology Research Fellow

    2009 – Class of 1955 Scholarship

    2008 – John Deere Mechanical Engineering Scholarship

    2008 – National Smart Grant

    2008 – University Student Award

    2006 – Accepted into the Pavlis Institute of Global Technological Leadership (4-yr program)

    2006 – Received Michigan Tech Presidential Excellence Scholarship (4-yr scholarship)

    2006 – Michigan Competitive Scholarship (4-yr scholarship)          

    2006 – Michigan Merit Award

    2006 – Received Elks Association Scholarship

    2006 – Received Traverse Class of 44 & 45 Scholarship      

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