This photograph illustrates ferrofluid, a magnetic non-Newtonian liquid, which is at the end of a magnet. The ferrofluid is normally a dark, oily liquid, which flows easily. However, placing a magnet nearby causes the domains in the liquid to line up, attaching each molecule’s pole to the opposite pole on the next molecule. The liquid has a tendency to form spikes, like it does in the photo, because the magnet attracts the liquid strongly, and causes the majority of the liquid to gather as close to it as possible. However, this magnet is not strong enough to produce uniform spikes, so shapes such as the ones in the image can be created. If somebody touches the fluid, they will knock the domains out of alignment, allowing the liquid to flow again temporarily. This allowed me to reshape the liquid into a different form. When the object touching the liquid is taken away, the domains are allowed to realign, forming a rigid structure once again. If the magnet is taken away from the liquid, the liquid will collapse, allowing it to flow like a normal liquid once again.

Cole Vander Veen
Centre Dufferin District High School, Shelburne, ON
Third Prize ( High School Individual Category )
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