While carrying some boxes over to the local post office one of them sadly fell on the ground. One of the Postal employess commented that he hoped what was in the box was not fragile. I answered “Not this one, it is full of Iron Filings.”. “Iron Filings? Why would someone want that?”
Iron Filings are not the most exciting product we carry in the store. Its a bag, and it has 1 pound of Iron Filings inside it. Oh, and a label. Gotta have the label saying what it is. That’s it. And yet we sell quite a few of them!
So what are iron filings for? Here’s a few art & science projects that requires them:
1) Magnetic field patterns: Place a magnet (preferably a bar magnet) flat on a large piece of paper and sprinkle the irong filings on the paper around the magnet. The iron filings will line up to to illustrate the ‘field lines’ of the magnetic field of the magnet
2) Making Rust: There are a number of experiments listed out there where you add vinegar to iron filings to show how it oxidizes and makes rust. Sometimes when you do this you will get a ‘rotten egg’ smell and its not exacly certain why that happens.
3) Budget Ferrofluid: Actual ferrofluid is kinda pricey, so many folks use irong filings sealed in a test tube with light oil (30w) to act as a budget version of ferrofluid. Its efficacy is…debatable.
4) Art Toys: Remember those ‘magnetic doodlers’ where you uses a tip to give a face eyebrows or a mustache? The ‘hair’ was actually made of Iron Filings. Some take this idea a step further
5) Music: Let’s just watch this, shall we?
6) Make a Fuzzy Magnet Pet. Take a powerful rare-earth magnet and drop it into a bag of iron filings to get this nifty fuzzy iron tribble!
Want to buy Iron Filings?