Ferrofluid’s Strange Dynamics Are Even More Dazzling When Touched… But Don’t Touch It

Ferrofluid, the liquid invented by NASA in the 1960s as a rocket fuel, has some strange and wonderful properties. Around a magnet, it pimples into glimmering cones that dance and shrink or grow depending upon their interactions with magnetic fields. It some sense, it even kind of looks like Mystique’s skin. It’s an alluring and mysterious liquid that’s just begging to be touched, and in his latest video, YouTuber and proud nerd Braniac75 ponied up his own bare finger to do just that.

Although we’ve seen numerous other ferrofluid videos, including this one of a ferrofluid reflecting pool and this one of a ferrofluid clock, Braniac75’s overview of the strange black oil is a bit different. The brave soul dips his finger, both gloved and ungloved, into the ferrofluid to show how it interacts with skin.

Ferrofluid is made up of iron-oxide particles, a carrier fluid (like water or an organic solvent), and a surfactant that binds the two together, allowing for the strange behavior it demonstrates. And it turns out that this combination, according to Braniac75, causes troublesome skin rashes, as well as downright gnarly eye irritations. In other words: do not try this at home.

Braniac75 is able to go a bit deeper with his glove on, and demonstrates just how much ferrofluid can look like a reassembling piece of a T-1000. He also gives a stellar breakdown of how ferrofluid works, pointing out how the magnetic field generated by his 6×2″ neodymium magnet attempts to pull the iron-oxide particles out of the oil, but fails to do so thanks to the hold of the surfactant.

And because you can’t have a “monster magnet” and magnetic putty and not show their interaction to an audience, the 10-minute clip ends with some putty-magnet interplay that may just make your day.

What do you think about Braniac75 touching ferrofluid with his bare finger? Let us know in the comments below!

Images/GIFs: Brainiac75

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