Saturday Science Sessions – Magnetic Art

This Saturday Science Session used a variety of leftover materials from previous experiments, including oil-based paint and black and red toner that I had raided from a Staples recycle bin! It was the perfect opportunity to get creative and make magnetic art.

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Toner from a printer contains iron oxide particles, which are magnetic. Mixing toner and vegetable oil creates a ferrofluid which is a liquid that responds to a magnetic field. When the laser printer toner is mixed with oil, the particles become suspended in the liquid but are free to move around when in the field of a magnet. The suspended iron oxide particles try to align with the magnetic field lines. When I added an oil-based paint to the ferrofluid, I was able to drag the paint around in the mixture and create various patterns. This would definitely be even cooler with more paint colors!

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