This Isn’t CGI – It’s Ferrofluid, and It’s F’Awesome

Photo Credit: Pixabay/CC0

Have you heard of ferrofluid?

You’d probably recognize it if you saw it:

Photo Credit: Jean-Charles RECHT

It’s that stuff that looks like CGI/special effects but is actually 100% real.

Photo Credit: Andrew Magill/flickr

Ferrofluid, AKA ferromagnetic fluid, contains a base of tiny magnetic nanoparticles that are coated to keep from clumping and suspended in a liquid. Introduce it to a magnetic field, and the liquid becomes a solid.

We’ve begun seeing more of it in various places over the last few years, but ferrofluid has actually been around for over half a century:

It was originally invented in 1963 by NASA engineer Steve Papell as a possible zero-gravity rocket fuel:

Photo Credit: DVIDS

Over the years, ferrofluids have been used in a number of way, most notably as a way to cool speakers in an ingenious application where the fluid cycles around the coil, and the warm fluid becomes less magnetic and is replaced by the cooler fluid.

And ferrofluid still might have a future in rocket fuel.

But the main application for folks like you and me is to get ahold of some and play with it:

Photo Credit: Carleton Labs

You can make your own, but you’ll have to do a bit of work. The main process involves either mixing magnetic ink developer with veggie oil, mixing ferric chloride with ammonia and kerosine, or using acetone to strip old cassette tapes :

Photo Credit: Pixabay/CC0

If any of that interests you, feel free to go HERE.

You can also just go to Amazon, and buy some if you don’t want to make your own.

Photo Credit: Amazon

You can get a pretty basic setup there for under $20.

Or you can spend even more and get a fancy display:

Photo Credit: Amazon

Or you can just watch other people play with it, I suppose:

But that just makes me want to get my own even sooner.

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