Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Ferrofluid, Ferromagnetism & Fun

While doing some research on the elemental form of Mercury, I came across this clever use of
Ferromagnetism, titled "Morpho Towers".


What you see above is known as "Ferromagnetism", done by using a material called "Ferrofluid". A ferrofluid (from the Latin ferrum, meaning iron) is a liquid which becomes strongly polarised in the presence of a magnetic field.

Ferrofluids are composed of nanoscale ferromagnetic particles suspended in a carrier fluid, usually an organic solvent or water. The ferromagnetic nano-particles are coated with a surfactant to prevent their agglomeration (due to van der Waals and magnetic forces). Although the name may suggest otherwise, ferrofluids do not display ferromagnetism, since they do not retain magnetisation in the absence of an externally applied field. In fact, ferrofluids display paramagnetism, and are often referred as being "superparamagnetic" due to their large magnetic susceptibility. True ferromagnetic fluids are difficult to create at present.

“Morpho Towers--Two Standing Spirals” is an installation that consists of two ferrofluid sculptures that moves synthetically to music. The two spiral towers stand on a large plate that hold ferrofluid. When the music starts, the magnetic field around the tower is strengthened. Spikes of ferrofluid are born from the bottom plate and move up, trembling and rotating around the edge of the iron spiral.The body of the tower was made by a new technique called “ferrofluid sculpture” that enables artists to create dynamic sculptures with fluid materials. This technique uses one electromagnet, and its iron core is extended and sculpted. The ferrofluid covers the sculpted surface of a three-dimensional iron shape that was made on an electronic NC lathe. The movement of the spikes in the fluid is controlled dynamically on the surface by adjusting the power of the electromagnet. The shape of the iron body is designed as helical so that the fluid can move to the top of the helical tower when the magnetic field is strong enough.The surface of the tower responds dynamically to its magnetic environment.

Magnetic Thinking Putty

Another thing i've looked at is this "Magnetic Thinking Putty". It work similarly to the ferrofluid, only it is a putty infused with millions of micromagnetic fibres. It can be morphed, squashed and stretched into any shape and breaks apart when upon sudden impact


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