Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Metal fluid suspension magnetic lavalamp

Attraction! Repulsion!
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It is strange how text entered into the summary box is so laggy.

These toys would be like lava lamps but would be cylinders surrounded by electromagnets. Maybe regular coils wrapping the lamps at intervals. Maybe these electromagnets would be glass capillary tubes filled with electrolyte such that they were transparent, allowing view of cylinder beneath.

The cylinder interior is full of water or maybe water with polymer for added viscosity. Instead of molten wax there are metal fluid suspensions. Most folks have seen ferrofluids and can imagine how that would work: on switching on the oily ferrofluid would be pulled thru the water towards the interior of the electromagnet coil. The coils turn on and off with varying strength and varying patterns, causing the glob to move to and fro within the cylinder. With some luck the coil activation sequence could be made such that the fluid blob seems alive.

The other fluid for this is a nonmagnetic metal. We will use gold because it would look so cool and the inductive effects of magnets on a gold sovereign still sit at the head table in my half baking lobe. I am less clear on how magnets turning on and off will affect a conductive blob. I like to think that maybe the blob will be hurled in a direction contrary to its current motion. Maybe such a blob could be pingponged between two coils? Is that so much to ask?

I am not sure about the feasibility of the gold equivalent of ferrofluid but the stuff should be makable and pretty even if useless. The ferrofluid magnet lamp would work. Maybe there are magnetic rare earth metals which have colors other than black, for improved aesthetics. Vanadium blue?

bungston, Mar 28 2015

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