Ferrofluids; Not Your Average Magnets

Normally a magnet is thought of as a small and cold piece of decorated metal that is stuck to another metal object like a refrigerator. Magnets can actually be found in a liquid form called ferrofluids, and these liquids actually have similar properties to that of a solid magnet. They are not an actual magnet because they need a magnetic field around them to have these properties. Making these some of the oddest of the magnetic items known today.


Usually, there is an iron compound found in the ferrofluid’s chemical makeup. Things like magnetite are most commonly found as that compound. Ferrofluids are regarded as a colloidal suspension, meaning that it has more than one state of matter, which makes them great lubricants. This also means that the solid compounds will not seperate no matter what. When put close to a magnet, it almost looks like a signal you would see on an oscilloscope screen. At least ferrofluids can be entertaining.

The uses for ferrofluid can be numerous. In fact, many of us use it every day when we put a disc in to our computer. The disc drive is lubricated by ferrofluids on the inside of the drive shafts. NASA is also experimenting with the uses of the friction-reducing effects of ferrofluids. Even cancer is revealed through the use of ferrofluids, and new experiments are being tested to see if it kills cancer. Astronomers have used them to help make optics pieces. Also, they can reduce heat called by exhaust from heat coils in things like loud speakers.

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