Ferrofluid is an extraordinary material with unique ferromagnetic properties. Although dozens of applications for it have been found - from hard drives to loudspeakers - its most impressive is arguably as an interactive display.
Ferrofluid displays capture the best qualities of ferrofluid, both as a liquid and as a ferromagnetic substance. By applying magnetic fields of different strengths, different shapes and formations begin to appear in this otherworldly black liquid. By suspending it in a clear liquid, even more interactive qualities are exposed.
The goal for Ferrite is to create the best ferrofluid display possible. Premium materials like anodized aluminum and high-quality materials are being utilized to create a refined and beautiful product. I also am in the process of finalizing a proprietary superhydrophillic coating to prevent staining. With this, I intend to produce a product that is attractive, usable, and that will survive the test of time.
I have designed two products which I have named Ferrite and Ferro. Both have been created to show off the properties of ferrofluid in a safe, visually compelling way.
Ferrite has been designed with the desktop use in mind. Its design is attractive even when static, and allows for optimal interaction with ferrofluid. The solid aluminum base prevents the display from tipping over, while a matching stylus houses powerful neodymium magnets. A thin layer of rubber on the underside prevents any kind of sliding or slipping while being used. A high-quality enclosure creates a crystal clear view of the fluid, showing off the brilliant and beautiful qualities of ferrofluid.
Ferro has been designed as a smaller, more interactive version of Ferrite. It features a cage to protect the container, as well as a special encased magnet that rests on the top of the vessel. By creating a recessed cavity for the magnet to rest, the ferrofluid is kept consistently in its ferromagnetic state, making it an interesting display piece. Using CNC techniques normally reserved for fine watches, the aluminum cage is a secure and finely crafted piece of hardware.
Funding and Rewards
If successful, funding from this project will go towards finalizing the engineering and chemistry to make this product as safe, reliable, and refined as possible. Due to the use of premium materials and expensive processes, final pricing for this initial run has been set at $100 for Ferro and $150 for Ferrite. These prices will include the display, magnets and accessory magnets, and structural packaging to ensure safe shipping. If funding is successful, I hope to have the final product shipping by mid 2012. Assembly will be completed in the US to ensure a high-quality, defect free product.
Alongside the products, I have also begun work on a series of desktop backgrounds promoting the project. These backgrounds are based on ferrofluid displays and are available in a wide selection of resolutions. These backgrounds are available to all backers who donate $10 or more to the project as a thank you for your support. A example has been included below (Larger version can be viewed at http://davidmark.us/archives/439).
Thank you for your support!
Patent Pending - All content © 2012 by David Markus
USA - Please add $10 to your total pledge to cover shipping and packaging
Canada - Please add $25 to your total pledge to cover packaging and courier costs
**Sorry, due to the materials used, this product cannot be shipped internationally. Please note that pledge amounts do not include final shipping charges**
***Ferrofluid and the suspension liquid is not harmful to touch, but should not be handled children under the age of 16. A MSDS on the Ferrofluid used in the project can be viewed at http://www.colorado.edu/MCEN/flowvis/course/Ferrofluidefhmsds.pdf***
More detail images below.
The ferrofluid used in this product is a special formula designed for educational use. It is extremely messy, but will not harm you if you avoid prolonged exposure. The MSDS from the company who creates the ferrofluid used in this project can be viewed below:
According to the sheet, the fluid has minimal toxicity if ingested but to still seek medical attention. For this reason, I would suggest that the product not be handled by children under 16.
I'll also be including a MSDS as well for the suspension fluid with the final product, as well as a safety booklet with full disclaimers about the nature of the product. Please keep in mind that this product is not intended to be disassembled, and will be sealed to prevent tampering.
I have spoken to CANUTEC who have informed me that I shouldn't have any issue shipping to Canada using a courier service such as DHL, UPS, or FedEx. I will take orders from Canada, but please keep in mind that additional shipping charges may apply.
Containing ferrofluid like this is a tricky matter. A fine chemical balance must be established to ensure that no staining occurs on the glass and that the properties of the fluid is kept intact. Ferrofluid itself is also a somewhat delicate liquid. It's made of tiny particles of iron, around 10 microns in size that have been coated with a special agent to prevent clumping. Otherwise, every time you applied a magnetic field to it, the particles would stick together and form unsightly lumps.
Because of this delicate balance, the displays must not be mistreated. Playing with it in an agressive fashion may cause damage to the performance of the fluid. As well, leaving the magnet on the glass for an extended period of time may cause damage to the container in the form of staining. I have gone to great lengths to create a very stable environment, but unfortunately there is no way to predict how it will stand up over a period of many years.
I plan to produce a set of replacement glass vessels that would be able to be purchased and inserted into the existing base or cage in case of any damage.
Generally speaking, no. Due to the presence of powerful magnets, glass, and the potentially delicate nature of ferrofluid, I would recommend that children not use this product.
Currently the larger vessel Ferrite stands 8.5" tall with a 5" diameter base. The smaller vessel Ferro is 4.25" tall and 2" in diameter. Final dimensions may vary slightly.
Due to the substances in the suspension fluid, I cannot ship overseas.
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