Ferrofluid re-cools lava lamps

Kyle Haines

Magnetism is likely one of the most fascinating phenomena on the planet, and there are myriad magnetic desk toys that illustrate our — cough — attraction to those objects. One in every of these that has emerged in recent times is ferrofluid – a thick, oily fluid consisting of nanoscale magnetic particles suspended in a bottle of water. Mounting a magnet on the surface of the bottle attracts and repels the ferrofluid, permitting the consumer to create a form or bounce it round within the bottle.

To many, it resembles a lava lamp, with globules of sizzling, molten wax shifting round in water in response to the glow of an incandescent gentle. It was he who paved the way in which for creator Kyle Haines to create a brand new sort of lamp—one which consists of magnetic fluid that may be interacted with, not simply droplets of wax that may solely be seen passively.

“I observed that every time I confirmed folks ferrofluid, it was a reasonably frequent response to check it to a lava lamp. Actually, some press would cowl the ferrofluid challenge and say issues like ‘that is the subsequent lava lamp.’ I noticed that too Feedback on articles the place folks mentioned they thought ferrofluid shows ought to have a passive perform like a lava lamp, the place they transfer on their very own,” he defined.

“I began occupied with what it could take to really flip ferrofluid right into a working movement lamp and realized that it is truly fairly nicely engineered for the duty (in concept). So, I Began utilizing it till it was good.”

The ferrofluid is shifting in response to the warmth of the incandescent bulb.

Kyle Haines

His creation — known as Inspiration, at the moment searching for funding on Kickstarter — is predicated on the identical precept because the Lava Lamp. Because the incandescent gentle supply on the backside heats the ferrofluid, it varieties globules and floats within the chilly water on the prime of the lamp, which in flip will flow into the globules again down – identical to a conventional wax lava lamp works.

The large distinction, after all, is that you should use neodymium magnets to draw or repel these globules of ferrofluid—the interplay with the fabric contained in the lamp. Getting a lamp that did this was no trivial feat, and Haines has spent three years conducting analysis and improvement for Encourage.

“The largest problem with any ferrofluid show is conserving the ferrofluid from sticking to the partitions. This requires a number of complicated chemistry that many individuals have tried unsuccessfully to unravel. I am not in the way in which of fixing this downside. As a result of it is a bit of a commerce secret,” Haines — who works in nanofabrication — mentioned.

“To ‘circulation’ the ferrofluid in a movement lamp, it was truly surprisingly easy once I found out the way to stick it to glass. It is actually only a matter of ‘tuning’ the densities of the 2 liquids. The ferrofluid could be matched very carefully whereas conserving it somewhat extra dense.”

Kyle Haines

The purpose of the challenge just isn’t solely to create a really superior lamp – though it is rather harmful – however to stimulate curiosity and schooling about nanotechnology, an rising expertise that has potential in every thing from drugs to industrial manufacturing by way of robotics. It’s an rising expertise with functions.

“Ferrofluid is an instance of nanotechnology and, when offered correctly, may be very profitable in producing curiosity,” Haines wrote on the Kickstarter marketing campaign. “It is due to pure curiosity. I wish to encourage that curiosity in addition to the imaginative considering that comes with it. I wish to remind folks that there is nonetheless loads to discover and discover.”

Inspiration is being provided with a challenge pledge of $149, together with the magnet, with an estimated supply date of August 2015. Go to the Kickstarter marketing campaign and help it.

Supply hyperlink