A group of scientists have created a new material, which is liquid and magnetic at the same time. It is a step forward in the field of “soft magnetic materials”.
This finding could bring to new and innovative printable liquid devices that could be used for different applications, from electronics to medicine and even robotics.
Solid magnets have been used during several centuries to improve our quality of life and to create many kinds of devices.
But, what would we be able to do with liquid magnets?
Berkley Lab’s scientists managed to create it: their study has been published on “Science”, describing a new material, “which is both liquid and magnetic, an anthentic innovation” as said by Tom Russell, the main scientist of the research.
Researchers got the idea while they were studying liquid components of ferrofluids, solutions of iron oxide particles that become strongly magnetic in the presence of another magnet.
However, scientists also wonder if this temporary magnetic condition could be brought to permanent. Could they get a magnetic liquid substance?
The answer is yes. Russell and his student Xubo Liu, first authors of this research, used a particular 3D pronting to create small drops of 1 mm in diameter made of ferrofluids solutions. These drops contained iron oxide nanoparticles of 20 nanometres in diameter.
Using advanced microscopy techniques, they found out that the nanoparticles mob on the drops’ surface.
Using also a magnetic coil in solution, they were able to place the drops in a way that the coil could attract the nanoparticles in a sort of vortex.
“They could barely believe it” Russel says, pointing out the uniqueness of the discovery.