New Scientist Short List of Fun Materials
January 3, 2007 7:59 PM   Subscribe

Walking on liquids, corn starch rocking out to the beat of a subwoofer and materials that expand as they stretch are just some of the cool videos mentioned in The Stuff of Dreams (plenty more links in the last link).
posted by furtive (13 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
What the heck was in that pool?
posted by UseyurBrain at 8:05 PM on January 3, 2007

Oh, and Previously and previously.
posted by furtive at 8:07 PM on January 3, 2007

furtive, That was seriously cool! Thanks. I had no idea about non-Newtonian fluids. Very fun.
posted by nickyskye at 8:29 PM on January 3, 2007

Yeah, lots of previously. And MoFi beat ya to it by about three weeks.

Still... pretty cool stuff to watch.
posted by Doohickie at 8:33 PM on January 3, 2007

I take that back.... I don't think they had your last link, and that's the best of all. Cool.
posted by Doohickie at 8:35 PM on January 3, 2007

UseyurBrain, it was cornstarch and water.
posted by nickyskye at 8:48 PM on January 3, 2007

Yeah, they did something very similar on Brainiac where one of the hosts, John Tickle, runs across a pool of custard. The basic principle is that hard foot steps will cause the material to temporarily solidify enough for you to take another step. If you stop moving or walk too lightly, you sink.

It was cool.
posted by quin at 8:59 PM on January 3, 2007

If anyone reading this hasn't clicked the last link and viewed the ferroliquid video, DO SO NOW.

That stuff is fascinating. Does anyone know what type of apparatus it is they are using that they can control the location of the field like that?
posted by invitapriore at 10:07 PM on January 3, 2007


Seriously, my brain hurts. What would happen if I poked it?
posted by ztdavis at 10:16 PM on January 3, 2007

Those geeks were getting a little too excited about the corn starch...
posted by joelf at 12:23 AM on January 4, 2007

invititapriore, it looks like five electromagnets on the bottom (just one on the top?). From what I understand, the finer, smaller spikes result from a magnetic field with a larger source while the big, tall spikes are produced by smaller, more concentrated fields.

ztdavis, not much, aside from an oily finger. You won't really interact with the forces propping the oil up.

I do have a question, though: if the fields were left on, would the ferrous particles seperate from the oil?
posted by Tzarius at 2:18 AM on January 4, 2007

That dancing cornstarch reminds me of the vagina flower thread below.

I actually remember making this in science class as a kid, and then begging my mom to let me make it at home later. My teacher read us a Dr. Suess book about "oobleck" and then let us make our own, and even though I was only ten at the time it's always stuck with me and it's something I plan to do with my future maybe one-day kids.
posted by Brittanie at 5:35 AM on January 4, 2007

The beginning of the subwoofer cornstarch video has been commended as being strongly vaginal, which bothers some men.
posted by Anything at 7:46 AM on January 4, 2007

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