Ferrocell, Magnetic Fields Viewer





Introduction: Ferrocell, Magnetic Fields Viewer

Difficulty of realization 7/10

Step 1: How to Work

This is the best magnetic field viewer I've ever seen. The field lines are displayed with clarity like no other device or trick you can do.

Apply light and magnetism to either surface. Polarization of the applied magnetic field will determine the "angle of incidence" light experiences as it exits the cell.
Using a permanent magnet is the easiest way to apply a polar field and see how a Ferrocell will change the path of light and appear as a holographic image to the viewer.
One component of the viewed image represents the Null Zone of the field in 3-D. This is the lowest potential or Zero Point. Each point of light will follow a path in relation to its relative position in space around the magnetic field. Another component we see is the Neel or more generally, the Bloch Wall. This appears as a perpendicular band through the center of the magnetic field.

Step 2: How It Make

To build a Ferrocell you need to:

2 glass plates or acrylic perspex sheets
Mineral oil
A LED strip
Some neodymium magnets

Dilute ferrofluid with mineral oil in a ratio 1/4 ferrofluid and 3/4 Mineral Oil

Distribute the preparation onto a glass plate and place the second plate over the first so that the oil spills over the entire surface. Eliminate any air bubbles by pressing on the glass to get the bubbles off the edge. The preparation with the ferrofluid is so dirty takes the appropriate precautions to avoid spoiling the things around you

Seal the edges of the plate. I used the simple transparent tape.

Put the plate over a strip of LED as seen in the video, approaching a powerful magnet you will see distinctly the lines of its magnetic field.

If you like this experiment visit and subscribe to my youtube channel "Magnetic Games" http://bit.ly/MagneticGames

This amazing invention was made by Timm Vanderelli

Explore Science Contest 2017

Runner Up in the
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    39 Discussions


    5 months ago

    I've made couple of these if Perspex sheets. Bought 4xA4 off of Amzon. It does work, but not very well. I get very little magnetic lines and only when close to the sheet itself. Tried neodymium magnets and regular ones. Using rgb led strip.
    Today I disassembled few photo frames (to try with glass) and although I'm still not getting the results like in your video,it was a big improvement! I'd suggest to anyone to build this with glass, unless you have spare Perspex lying around.
    Nonetheless this is one awesome and excellent instructable! Iv'e been wondering for some time how to see them lines without buying any overpriced ferrocells.
    Thank you, Sir, for sharing this!

    I also have some quantity of Balistol oil (used for gun cleaning) could it be used instead of mineral oil?

    would like to hear from someone who has actually made this,found it almost impossible to contain the fluid with tape at the sides, nothing but leaks and a mess

    This is one of the coolest things I have ever seen on instructables for how simple it is. Nice Job!!!

    1 reply

    Wow!...this is very 'Attractive'. Your version is 'poles apart' from the tiny viewing sheets you can buy.

    I have 'pulled together' all the parts needed and will be putting one together soon (but I have a lot on my 'plate' at the moment).

    Then I can test it in the 'field' and hope that my results don't 'go South'.

    3 replies

    Very good invention , but you do not give any details of the LED strip,ie how big, and where available the rest is very simple but I am puzzled by the LED strip bit, can you explain more Please.

    What you need are many equidistant light sources, I've seen someone use candles. Use any LED strip, RGB if you want to see the colored field lines.

    Nicely done. I have been using many different types of magnetic field detection devices to help me visualize magnetic field interactions but this by far 'is' what I need. Definitely going to build one. I wonder what could be visualized if a box is built with one side removed, using your technique, if a 3-D visual can be obtained?

    1 reply

    thank you :). I'm working on a 3D project with ferrocell using 3 plates. 3D perception is only with large and powerful magnets. Within a month or two I will post the video on youtube


    1 year ago

    Wow, so much more impressive than the iron filings, on a plate of glass, most of us remember from elementary school. Much of what I remember being taught (about magnetic phenomena) was frustrating because the instructors didn't have any ready way to show us what they were teaching. "Magnetic flux is invisible" they'd say, "but trust us, it really does thus & so". As seeing is believing, what a marvelous teaching aid this would be. Besides making magnetic flux highly "visual" it could be used to demonstrate all kinds of claims about magnetism, like how introducing a metallic object into a magnetic field, changes it (like with the induction coil on a metal detector). I could even see if my old science teacher was actually telling us the truth when he said "there's no known material that can block magnetic flux". Thank-you for sharing Mr. Vanderelli's invention with us all :)

    1 reply

    thank you :)
    True, the didactic potential of this invention is great

    I love this project! Thank you for sharing.

    Until today, I never knew that WD-40 has mineral oil as a main ingredient. But it seems there are other important ingredients in it as well.

    Have you tried this with regular mineral oil? Will that work as well?

    Also, will any ferrofluid work, or do the ferrous particles have to be a certain size?

    1 reply

    thank you very much

    It works even if you use vegetable oil

    Iron particles must be very small, magnetite powder is generally used

    An old fashioned CRT TV displaying a plain white screen shows magnetism well, but then it stays magnetised

    1 reply

    Just a thought. This is true for colour televisions, which have a metal shadow mask on the inside of the tube face that can become magnetised. Old fashioned, monochrome tubes have no mask and so are not permanently affected. Anyone out there still got a black-and-white telly?