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Natural Wonders

Watch: Remarkable Time-Lapse Shows A Cube Being Absorbed By Magnetic Putty

Science has taken our breath away all over again.

Screen Shot: Scott Lawson (via YouTube).

Predominantly, Mpora is an action sports and adventure website. I think we’re all agreed on that. Ever so often however, along comes something that’s so unbelievably mind-melting we just have to share it with you.

We felt that way about all the red hot nickel ball videos we insisted on showing you, and we felt that way about the optical illusion that made black and white photographs appear in colour. Some of you loved these videos, and some of you…well…let’s say just say that some of you didn’t love them half as much.

Screen Shot: Scott Lawson (via YouTube).

If you count yourself in the latter group of opinion-holders, you might want to look away now. Why? Because we’ve stumbled across another odd science thing. It’s weirdly enjoyable, enjoyably weird, and we feel utterly compelled to show it to as many people as possible (including you).

Without further ado, let’s introduce you to this cool time-lapse video of magnetic putty “eating” a magnetic cube. It was recorded over one and a half hours at 3fps, and is played back at 24fps. It’s a hypnotic viewing experience, and one that we’ve already watched multiple times. So go on, prepare to be amazed, and give it a look. You won’t regret it.

Now, for the science bit. How exactly does it work? Well according to the description on YouTube, ferromagnetic particles in the putty are strongly attracted to the magnet (hence why it ultimately engulfs it). The magnet used is a super strong neodymium iron boron magnet, and considered to be a highly powerful one relative to magnets of a similar size.

The putty looks and supposedly feels like regularly silly putty. Unlike regular silly putty though this little grey blob has been infused with millions (yes, millions!) of micron-sized ferrous particles. Interestingly, the magnetic putty is not actually magnetic in and of itself since the infused particles are made of iron powder.

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The iron powder (aka the ferromagnetic particles in the putty) is magnetised by the strong neodymium iron boron magnet. When this happens, the ferrous particles align with each other. This alignment creates the north and south poles, transforming the putty into an extremely hungry temporary magnet.

This strange change to the putty lasts for only a few hours before the surrounding thermal influences shake the particles, and make them lose their alignment.

Whether or not you fully understand the science behind this, I think we can all agree that watching this process happen is a real brain-blowing experience.

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