Ferrofluid Toy: A Geeky Educational Toy for Kids and Adults

11:02 PM

The ferrofluid toy won by my husband in an online contest came today through mail. You would be surprised at how he especially likes doing this. Seems to me that men do not really outgrow their love for toys but I digress...

What is Ferrofluid?

Ferrofluid is a portmanteau of ferromagnetic and fluid.  A quick reference to Wikipedia reveals that it is a liquid that becomes strongly magnetized in the presence of a magnetic field. It is also said to be composed of nanoscale particles less than 10 nanometers in diameter of magnetite, hematite, and some other compound containing iron.

Ferrofluid has applications in electronic devices, mechanical engineering, materials science, analytical instrumentation, medical applications, heat transfer, optics, and art. If the barrage of scientific terms is confusing you, fear not for you are not alone. I am at a loss as to how ferrofluid can be applied in the realm of educational toys and simple entertainment. 

What then is a Ferrofluid Toy?

It appears that there are several versions of ferrofluid display available in the market. They are not considered toys but more of a gift item commonly displayed on office desks. These displays are marketed as science-based amusement or boredom busters. The ferrofluid that comes in a clear bottle can be made to "dance" all around with the use of magnets.

The ferrofluid toy is based on the same principle of science-based amusement. The video above can provide a clearer idea. In spite of all the scientific gobbledygook, it is essentially magnetic magic in motion inside a glass container that proposes no complicated use. Just a simple distraction toy to while away the time while learning a thing or two about nanotechnology. According to the manufacturer's website, this educational ferrofluid is safe to use as the test tube comes with a harmless liquid encased in a protective shell.

My Say

Every once in a while, we come across unique toys, geeky toys even, that seeks to bring science outside the laboratory. I have always believed that part of the fun of studying science is learning to understand what we don't normally do. Science discovery is more fun especially for children when packaged with amusement and entertainment factors.

That said, this simple toy offers a respite from the usual fare of play and amusement.

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