Title

Ferrofluids

Date

6-2011

Degree Name

BA in Physics

Department

Physics Department

Advisor(s)

Matthew Moelter

Abstract

Ferrofluids are truly fascinating. Technologically savvy artists have been able to capture the human imagination with little but a judicious application of a magnetic field. The substance seems to defy gravity, flowing and shaping itself seemingly like magic (see Figure 1). The true magic, however, is the vast range of properties that this intrinsically simple substance can exhibit. It can vary its viscosity given the strength of the magnetic field. It can draw heat away from an over worked mechanical component. It can even split a beam of light in two. It’s hard to imagine what kind of strange and incredibly complex process would result in such miraculous material. Clearly, such a material must be made up of some highly advanced ingredients, the likes of which the world can scarcely fathom. As it turns out, the situation is quite the opposite. Ferro fluids are little more than iron particles suspended in oil.

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