|long term project update: ferrofluid snowglobe
||[Nov. 14th, 2011|10:24 pm]
A few years ago I had the idea of making a snowglobe with ferrofluid inside, and electromagnets underneath as sort of a science-sculpture thing. |
It was easy enough to start, but I noticed that the bottom to the snowglobe, made of some sort of rubber, seemed to be getting gummy. I decided not to proceed with that project at that time, but literally put it on a shelf, where it's been getting in the way ever since.
Today, I pulled it down as I was cleaning. I had expected the rubber to have rotted completely by now, but to my surprise, it was intact, and very resilient, and while it still felt a bit greasy, poking it with a finger hard showed no loss of strength. Considering that it's been 2 years, that's good enough of a test for me.
The ferrofluid has mostly dried out -- I suspect that gummy feeling was the solvent used diffusing through the rubber. I'm not sure what they used originally, but I believe mineral oil is similar enough to substitute, at least enough for experiments. In a worst case scenario I'll just have to buy another bottle of the stuff -- it's not cheap, but it's not that bad if you consider it a consumable during the research phase.
Once I get the ferrofluid, well, fluid again, I'm going to build a few electromagnets -- pole, U, pyramid, torus, not sure what else -- and see what kind of shapes they make in the fluid, then if I get really crazy, come up with some sort of controller to make it dance.