Oil impregnated with tiny iron fillings, reacts to the presence of electrical currents by attaching to the magnetic field and becoming more viscous. Ferrofluid has been around for a while and you can find a lot of videos of the odd patterns and shapes the liquid can produce. However the practical uses of this material have been so far limited to engineering applications. While its limited use in design is understandable as touching Ferrofluid is a good way to get stains all over your hands it has some unique properties that make it different to anything else on the market.
- Reacts to magnetic fields by becoming more viscous
- Forms shape of magnetic fields
- Transformations are almost instant.
- Stains horribly
- Is mostly oil based
- Magnetic properties are lost at high temperatures
- Once it comes in direct contact with a magnet it is impossible to remove.
Ferrofluid reacting to magnet
Manufacture & Fabrication
Ferrofluid can be produced in a number of ways, even at home from stuff you might find lying around. Some companies sell it at different prices based on its quality which can differ based on how fine the particles in the fluid are and what the oil is based off. As for fabrication, the fluoride must be kept in a sealed container to be used by a consumer. A side note if you’re testing ferrofluid can easily jump over the edges of petri-dish if the magnet is too strong and to close to the edge.
Durability & Sustainability
Ferrofluid will keep functioning indefinitely as long as it is kept clean. Small particles getting into the ferrofluid can cause it to become lumpy, this does not stop it functioning but does affect the aesthetics and texture. Sustainability is affected by how the fluid is made and varies depending on the oil base and the source of the ferrous filings.
Find out more at Ferrotec
Here’s a very quick demonstration of a ferrofluid clock.