Experimental and Theoretical Investigations on Field-Induced Instabilities in Magnetic Fluids

  • Luo, Weili (PI)

Grant Details

Description

This is an experimental condensed matter physics project that will investigate fluid instabilities that are induced in magnetic fluids by temperature gradients and external magnetic fields. The instabilities are expressed by changes in the surface topology, magnetic density and convection processes in the fluids. The primary approach is to use a new technique based on laser heating of thin films of the magnetic fluid. This produces a temperature gradient which, together with a magnetic field, gives rises to body forces in the fluid and leads to instabilities similar to buoyancy driven Rayleigh-Bernard convection instabilities in binary fluids. The resulting deformations of the fluid lead to diffraction of the laser beam traversing the fluid. The resulting diffraction patterns can be analyzed to follow the temporal and spatial development of the fluid instabilities. The project includes a theoretical collaboration with Professor Jie Huang of Michigan State University. The research provides excellent training for graduate students. The magnetic and electric field induced spatio-temporal patterns and instabilities in the fluids will be videotaped and used as part of general education activities in schools and museums.

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This is an experimental condensed matter physics project the deals with the time-varying and space-varying changes in ferrofluids. Ferrofluids are colloidal suspensions of microscopic magnetic particles that distort in complex fashion when exposed to a magnetic or electric field. The experiments use thin ferrofluid films exposed to a magnetic field. A laser beam shines on the fluid, creates a concentration gradient in the magnetic particle density and leads to diffraction patterns in the transmitted laser light. The diffraction patterns will be analyzed theoretically to obtain information about the complex temporal and spatial 'instabilities' in the fluids. The research provides excellent training for graduate students. The magnetic and electric field induced spatio-temporal patterns in the fluids will be videotaped and used as part of general education activities in schools and museums.

StatusFinished
Effective start/end date06/1/0005/31/04

Funding

  • National Science Foundation: $336,205.00

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