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A Tesla Valve in a Spacecraft Propulsion System

A project by: Ijaz Iqbal



from 7 donors

This project received pledges on Mon 09 Mar 2020
The use of a Tesla Valve to limit water hammer when priming a spacecraft propulsion system

Welcome to my page! I'm hoping to raise £250 to fund the investigation of this novel and exciting idea.

The background and purpose of my project:

During the priming stage of a spacecraft propulsion system, the slamming of the propellant against the closed thruster valve when the propellant tank valve is opened can cause severe pressure peaks.                                                                                                                                                                  Priming Event [1] 

This phenomenon is known as hydraulic shock, or the water hammer effect. The pressure peaks can cause a multitude of problems ranging from damaged hardware, to a total collapsing of the pipe. A potential option for mitigating the water hammer is the incorporation of a Tesla Valve in the pipeline. The Tesla Valve is designed in a way that will allow fluid with a low flow rate through unimpeded but will slow down fluid with a high flow rate. Fluid travels through the pipeline at a high flow rate during priming, so by having the Tesla Valve incorporated in the pipeline, it would reduce the flow rate before the propellant impacts the closed thruster valve. The reduction in flow rate will limit the water hammer.

This project involves the manufacturing of a Tesla Valve and validation testing in an experiment rig that simulates the priming event of a spacecraft propulsion system.

The Tesla Valve has never been used in this context before, and if it works, this solution could actually be applied in industry.

Why support this project?

This is a unique solution and an opportunity to help mitigate the damage subjected to hardware within a spacecraft propulsion system during priming. It will increase the safety and performance of a propulsion system, whilst reducing cost.

The components that will be bought and used for the experiment rig can be re-used so you will also be helping future KU students with any projects relating to propulsion.

Who am I?  

I'm Ijaz, an Astronautical Engineering student in my final year at Kingston University London. My specific interests lie within the field of spacecraft propulsion, which is why my project and dissertation project are related to this. 


There is a reward available for anyone who donates £100 or more. Please take a look at the pledge rewards detailed within this page.


Here's some images of the CAD design of the Tesla Valve

The inside:

What the finished article will look like:

Help me succeed!

My hope is that if you have made it this far down on the page, this project has piqued your interest. Please do donate, comment or even share on social media to help my project reach as far and wide as possible.

Thank you for your time,



[1] Moore, J., Gilbert, J., Brindle, B. and Risha, G. (2019). Priming Event Peak Pressures in Liquid Propulsion Systems. Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, 56(3), pp.899-909.