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Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

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Ferrofluid Sculptures by Sachiko Kodama

  • On December 27, 2005

Ferrofluid is a very interesting material originally developed by NASA it has now found itself been used for a whole range of devices including dampers for controlling and stabilizing large building that move around in the wind. Whats also amazing is that they have such lovely visual qualities when magnetized. The term liquid architecture is used a lot in interactive architecture based on the ideas of how architecture becomes animated by adding the 4th Dimension of Time. Sachiko has taken this idea of liquid architecture more literally with these stunning sculpture made from Ferrofluid which changes its state by the introduction of electro-magnetic waves into the fuid turning it solid. Words can't describe so just enjoy this beautiful video from wmmna


  1. fmr270

    Amazing, the video is beautiful and mesmerizing. It’s like watching a dream come to life.

    Keep up the magnificent exhibitions.

  2. Budda Magoo

    SkyNet is pleased with your progress.

  3. That it’s just so so cool looks like a crazy lova light

  4. amazing. Thanks for the vid.

  5. how do they do that stuff????
    i liked the dance though.

  6. adamsimms

    i actually had the opportunity to see a show of this in montreal by another designer…

    it was an amazing experience to see this liquid, its truely unique, erriee, and ‘out of this world’ type.

    I could have stayed there all day and watched it and interact with it, its so neat to ‘blow’ on the liquid and see how interative it actually is…

    definitly go check this stuff out

  7. Wow…. I’ve seen something bout this on discovery the other day…

  8. pozican

    Leaves open far too many questions…

  9. That is awesome! I so wish I had the equipment and resources to do this myself.

  10. John


  11. oliver

    WOW indeed.. the most awesome thing I have ever seen.. I wish I was an artist – the possibilities are limitless… great concept

  12. Londoners — if you want to see this ferrofluid stuff directly then pop over to the British Science Museum where they have a pan of this stuff with magnets. Neat stuff.

  13. Wow amazing! You can’t believe it! Hip hop hura for science 🙂

  14. Fantastic show!

  15. Benny

    I’ve actually made ferrofluid from FeCl solutions through a lab (provided by UCLA) in my high school chemistry class. Though I didn’t get it to spike, mainly because it wasn’t viscous enough, many other teams did and it did look pretty neat.

    Amazing to see something like this done in such a big magnitude.

  16. Neat video 🙂 Very interesting stuff!

  17. Chris

    Try other low melting point metals.

    According to this article, bismuth (diamagnetic) can be found at a hunting store.

    One might also experiment with powdered graphite (dry or suspended in oil), or one of many low melting point alloys.

  18. Tim

    Source Code and oliver, you don’t have to be an artist or have special equipment. You can definitely buy little bottles of this stuff online, including on eBay. Just search for “ferrofluid.” It works great if you have a tube or plate of glass and a strong neodymium magnet.

  19. MV

    These people must be stopped before CyberDyne Systems get a hold of the technology.

  20. Greg

    But how did they get it to spike etc.?

    Namely, to control it? I’d like to build a small display case for my home containing a pan of this liquid (found a 1 liter bottle online for about $120 USD) and under-the-pan floor cabinet housed magnet and (control unit?) – how did they control the spiking, etc.? How would you control a magnetic field to such a degree that you could determine where, what, and how much to spike/bubble, etc.?


  21. very interesting, could that respond at light changes?
    liquid metal sculpture (tin – drop by drop)

  22. Kyle

    Shoot the links are down, I hope they come back up. Does anyone know of mirror sites?

  23. There was a display of ferromagnetic fluids at the Boston Science Museum about a year ago. I dunno if it would still be there or not. They also had some cool clay-like material that would get stiff in the presence of a magnetic field, and turn back to a near-liquid when the field was removed. Cool!

    You don’t need to do anything special to get this stuff to create spikes. It does it naturally in the presence of a magnetic field. This must correspond to some minimum-energy state. You don’t need fine magnetic fields to produce these effects. In the exhibit I saw, you could just move a couple of magnets nearer and farther. They weren’t any fancy magnets, just big permanent dipole magnets. I think it would be very difficult to control the spikes to any degree, as they form spontaneously even in a large-scale, smooth dipole field.

    So, all you need to create your own display and some cool effects is a container of this fluid and some magnets. Nothing special. Just experiment. You could try using some variable electromagnetic fields, but that’s not necessary to create spikes and such.

  24. BZ

    This would be a great demo for med students. Guzzle a pint and volunteer for the MRI ride.

  25. MM

    >Does anyone know of mirror sites?

    this might be sachiko’s mirror site.

  26. veerle

    What interests me is the fact that the liquid in the video seemed to react to sound as well? Am i right here? Can somebody explain if and how this matter reacts to soundwaves?


  27. The soundwaves I believe were converted to electromagnetic waves hence the soundwaves appear to activate the fluid

  28. URL is always ‘not found’ when I try video…any suggestions? Really want to see it.

  29. bryan

    look I know tons of people that would love to have a smaller version of atower in theri houses to watch when there favorite music is playing so when is somone going to start produceing these things and encaseing them so there safe and won’t spill or stain and I think this is a huge cash cow somone has yet to tap into.

  30. We’ve got a few of Sachiko Kodama’s ferrofluid pieces at Patricia Faure Gallery in Santa Monica. Anyone in the area is invited to please stop by, say hello, and see this stuff in person. We can honestly stare at it for hours and hours!

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