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Ferrofluid

Material ID: 1666

Description

On first inspection ferrofluid could easily be mistaken for petrol, given its dark colour and oily viscosity. However, when placed in a magnetic field it becomes a gel and forms complex geometric patterns that reflect the magnetic field lines. These rippling, intricate geometries form because ferrofluid is composed of a liquid - typically an oil – which allows it to flow when there is no magnetic field, and nanoparticles of iron oxide that align with a magnetic field to restrain the fluid flow. Ferrofluid is a mixture of solid and liquid using an emulsifier to ensure they mix together perfectly to achieve this unusual material behaviour.

Ferrofluid was developed in collaboration with NASA in the 1960s to address the issue of moving fuels in zero gravity. Today it’s used in lubricants, as a seal in hard disks, and car suspensions. Ferrofluid also has a strong following of artists who use its unusual properties to generate unique shapes in their work.

Particularities

State

Categories

Maker

FerroTec Ltd

Donated by

King's College London

Library Details

Site

Bloomsbury

Status

In Library

Location

Glass Shelves

Form

Liquid, Blob

Handling guidance

Wash hands after handling.

Date entered collection

Friday 12th August, 2011

Keywords