Ferro fluid Hele-Shaw Cell

Antony Hall, Ferro Fluid Hele Shaw Cell, 2012

Antony Hall, Ferro Fluid Hele Shaw Cell

Many kinetic art works have been made using Ferro Fluids, including a screen and display using electro magnets to control it [see snoil 2006] For me it’s most interesting to examine it’s properties using a Hele-Shaw cell, a creating thin layer between glass.

Take a 35mm Glass slide case, open it up and place a small elastic band inside [small enough to fit over your thumb] Place a small drop of ferro fluid inside and fill the remainder of the space with a drop of isopropyl alcohol. Close the case together and place the magnet underneath. I mixed mine with white powder paint.

Expose it to magnetic force using a small powerful neodymium magnet, with a bit of experimentation, you can get fantastic patterns. Try a drop in a pool in petri dish with more alcohol and experiment with water and water colour paints. To get some really amazing results photograph with a macro lens. Check this work by Fabian Oefner.

Psychedelic nano-art in oils and ferrofluids (Image: Fabian Oefner)

Psychedelic nano-art in oils and ferrofluids (Image: Fabian Oefner)

Most intriguing are experiments where the cell is exposed to a powerful rotating magnetic field, it starts to make patterns resembling Celtic design. Here are some links…

Nonlinear Ferrohydrodynamics of Magnetic Fluids http://www.comsol.com/papers/5091/


MIT Explores Ferrofluid Applications http://www.photonics.com/Article.aspx?AID=15447


Video of experiment…


Check this art work using video feedback, very similar to Ferro Fluid in Hele-Shaw cells. http://www.independent.com/news/2012/dec/04/sciart-2012-mysterious/


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s