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Physics in Your World

Ferrofluids image
image credit: © Felice Frankel, from "Envisioning Science, the Design and Craft of the Science Image;" larger image

Ferrofluids

Physics becomes art in Felice Frankel's photo of a ferrofluid with permanent magnets underneath. In a ferrofluid, a region of approximately constant magnetic field produces a pattern of spikes.

A ferrofluid is a concentrated suspension of nanometer-sized magnetic particles. To learn more, see the Physics Central feature Ferrofluid Fun.

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Physics at Home

A Magnet That Drips: Making Ferrofluids

Ferrofluids like the ones pictured above are not difficult to make--you can prepare your own by following the instructions at A Magnet That Drips: Making Ferrofluids. Since the ferrofluid will be messy, make sure your work area is easy to clean. Also, be sure you have an adult working with you.


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From Physics Research

Fluid morphs into startling designs, surprising MIT researchers image
image credit: Prof. Markus Zahn; image source ; larger image

Fluid morphs into startling designs, surprising MIT researchers

This ferrofluid was subjected to a magnetic field perpendicular to its surface. The surface broke up into hexagonal regions, each with its own spike. For a MIT News article showing other ferrofluid patterns created by the same physicist, see Fluid morphs into startling designs, surprising MIT researchers.


Worth a Look

Morpho Towers, Two Standing Spirals

This video shows a ferrofluid work of art.

(This feature was updated on September 21, 2013.)


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