Matthew Corrado

Matthew Corrado
mcorrado 'at'
Degrees Pursued: Masters, Doctorate
Research Interests: Electrospray thruster performance, densification, fabrication, microfluidics


Matt is an NSF fellow and PhD candidate in the Space Propulsion Lab. He is from Westchester, NY and received his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech in 2020 before coming to MIT the same fall. Matt received his S.M. in 2022 with a thesis titled “Active Thermal Augmentation and Ultra Dense MEMS-Based Electrospray Thrusters”. His research focuses on electrospray thruster performance, particularly methods for and impacts of increasing areal thrust density in electrospray thrusters.

Research Summary:

Ionic liquid electrospray thrusters as an in-space electric propulsion option for small satellites offer superior thrust density on a per-mass or per-volume basis, enabling integration of electrosprays on the vanishingly small spacecraft that are becoming increasingly popular. However, electrosprays still lag traditional electric propulsion technologies, such as Hall effect thrusters and gridded ion engines, in areal thrust density, which is a critical metric as spacecraft, especially small satellites, are extremely limited in external area. The state of the art in electrospray propulsion is far below the theoretical limit of thrust density, so many engineering solutions exist to overcome the thrust density deficit. However, before being able to overcome the deficit, it is critical to fully understand the factors that are currently limiting thrust density in electrospray thrusters. Potential factors include fluidics, space charge considerations, fabrication, electrochemical effects, and others. My research focuses on modeling these factors to understand their relative influences and their interactions as the field continues to attempt to create extremely dense electrospray thrusters.