I brought in the ferrofluid and attempted ferrogel. While the performance of the ferrogel was disappointing, I was encouraged by how easy it was to make a ferrofluid that worked pretty well. What I brought in yesterday was a mix of 1 tsp of synthetic powdered FE3O4 and 1.5 tsp vegetable oil. I don’t think I made enough in the first test batch to adequately demonstrate the properties I want to harness. This video does a good job of showing the type of movement I would like to use:
Specifically, at about 40 s, how the fluid reacts in the presence of two opposing magnets. So my plan is to first demonstrate that the mixture I made will in fact behave in the same way. Then, I need to constrain the fluid, I’m thinking that I’ll us balloon since it shouldn’t take too much force to deform but will at least maintain it’s neutral shape. I then plan to finish building an array of electromagnets that I can then position in different configurations around my ferro-balloon and observe how different magnet fields influence the shape. I also want to wrap the entire balloon in a coil, and see if using the ferro-balloon essentially as the core of an electromagnet produces any useful change in viscosity or deformation. Assuming I do find some configurations that produce predictable movements, I would like to experiment with how much force can be generated, first by varying coils and voltage in the magnets, and then potentially by altering the mixture I’m using for the fluid: veg. oil vs. mineral oil vs. (maybe)canola oil vs. (maybe) kerosene, proportions of powdered magnetite to oil, and the addition of a surfactant (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surfactant).
Additionally, I will build the array of magnets such that I can reverse the current in individual magnets, or a group of magnets. I’m hoping that I can use that to cause the ferro-ballon to curve in response to the field, basically by causing one side of the balloon to lengthen while the other side contracts.