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How to Make Liquid Magnets

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How to Make Liquid Magnets - Things to Do with Ferrofluid
Top view of a ferrofluid in a dish, placed over a magnet.

Top view of a ferrofluid in a dish, placed over a magnet.

Steve Jurvetson, Flickr
Ferrofluid is very strongly attracted to magnets, so maintain a barrier between the liquid and the magnet (e.g., sheet of glass). Avoid splashing the liquid. Both kerosene and iron are toxic, so do not ingest the ferrofluid or allow skin contact (don't stir it with a finger or play with it).

Here are some ideas for activities involving your liquid magnet ferrofluid. You can:

  • Use a strong magnet to float a penny on top of the ferrofluid.
  • Use magnets to drag the ferrofluid up the sides of a container.
  • Bring a magnet close to the ferrofluid to see spikes form, following the lines of the magnetic field.

Explore the shapes you can form using a magnet and the ferrofluid. Store your liquid magnet away from heat and flame. If you need to dispose of your ferrofluid at some point, dispose of it the way you would dispose of kerosene. Have fun!

Video - How To Make Liquid Magnets

Learn More

Here are some references and resources for more information about ferrofluids:

  1. About.com
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  3. Chemistry
  4. Demos / Experiments
  5. How to Make Liquid Magnets - Things to Do with Ferrofluid

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