University of Nottingham

Magnet Laboratory

We use strong magnetic fields, up to 17 Tesla, generated by superconducting magnets to levitate water and biological organisms such as plants and bacteria. Within a magnetically levitated object, the force of gravity is balanced by a magnetic force at the molecular level. This means we can investigate the effects of weightless conditions, without needing a spaceship.
We can also use the magnetic field to effectively increase the force of gravity, or to apply "differential" gravity to mixtures, such as granular materials, to achieve separation.
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How does diamagnetic levitation work? (with videos)
Spinning and levitating water droplets
Magnetic cohesion in granular materials
Cryogenic floatation
Vibration in differential gravity
Magnetised Liquid oxygen
People and Contacts

PRL cover
Fluid flow around two bismuth spheres levitated in a vibrated liquid .

Levitated fruit flies
Tracks of fruit flies in simulated weightlessness (magnetically levitated - 0g*), normal gravity (1g*), magnetically simulated 2g hypergravity (2g*). Weightless fruit flies walk more quickly and more frequently..Click here for a movie..

spinning droplet A spinning, magnetically levitated water droplet performing 3 revolutions per second. The droplet is driven to rotate by passing an electric current through the water, harnessing the magnetic Lorentz force on the ions moving in the strong magnetic field. (Paper in Phys. Rev. Lett.); Viewpoint article ; Download a zip file containing movie clips (48Mb); Additional information

Bacterial culture in strong gradient magnetic field Bacterial cultures in a strong gradient magnetic field

separation by differential gravity Separation of a mixture of millet seeds (white) and plastic beads (red) using differential gravity and shaking. (Paper in Phys. Rev. E)

magnetised oxygen Various objects, including a gold coin and a chunk of lead, floating in magnetised liquid oxygen.

magnetically aligned proten tubes Atomic Force Microscopy image of Protein tubes aligned by a strong magnetic field of 12 Tesla. (Paper in Adv. Mat.).

Frequency spectrum of shape oscillations of a levitating water droplet. Frequency spectrum of shape oscillations of a levitating water droplet Phys. Rev. E 81, 056312 (2010) Appl. Phys. Lett. 100, 114106 (2012).

simulation of a pile of magnetised granules A molecular dynamics simulation of cohesion in magnetised granules. Paper in Phys. Rev. E

Related research groups at Nottingham:
Granular Dynamics group
Laboratory of Biophysics and Surface Analysis
Microbiology and Food Safety group
Fluid and Particle Processes group
Plant and Crop Sciences

Links to other interesting web sites

<<< Here is a clip from Episode 2 of the recent Children's BBC TV programme Little Howard's BIG Question, featuring the flying "Super Carrot", here in Nottingham! Click here to see the whole episode - Why Can't I Fly?

If you are after aurena, right click here to download the zip file; unpack it then read the README.txt file within.