The video used for this assignment depicts the phenomena of surface tension and viscosity. Using ferrofluid and two glass planes, interesting patterns were able to be created. Although the ferrofluid was not particularly necessary for the experiment, since no magnets were used, its dark color helped create a strong a strong contrast to easily visualize what was happening. This visually appealing effect was created by placing a glass plane down, pouring a small amount of ferrofluid on it, then placing a second glass plane down on top of that. Separating the glass planes from one side, creating an uneven gap, resulted in a repeatable and appealing pattern. The pattern created was for the most part repeatable as long as the glass was removed in the same way. For example, you can lift the top glass plane straight up, starting from one side, from a corner, etc.
Dyed shaving cream pressed with a flat grater, creating cylindrical rainbow formations.
For team Alpha’s second team project, we decided upon dyeing shaving cream and pushing it through a strainer or flat plate object and photographing the final product. I stumbled upon an Instagram post by Slime.Vegetables via @asmrtingletreats and wanted to launch our own production of the phenomenon. Our team members agreed on dividing the labor evenly and we all ended up assembling our own setup. Ultimately, I intended the picture would be bright, vibrant, and fun to visualize.
I set my experiment up indoors in my parent’s kitchen under white, fluorescent lighting. I decided to use approximately a quarter of a can of Barbasol Original Shaving Cream (10 oz.), so about 2.5 ounces, and placed the hemispherical mound of cream on a cutting plate. For the food dye, we used McCormick’s assorted food coloring pack (green, red, blue, yellow). I criss-crossed the shaving cream with one line of each color, so one line of color across the diameter four times. For a more dramatic effect, I decided to leave quite a bit of white space in the blob so that the colors would mix well and “pop”. I then used a cheese grater and tried to push the cream through it in one swift motion. This did not produce anything worth photographing unfortunately. Since the first trial was a flop, I chose to unscrew the flat plate of my shower drain, wash it off, and push the cream through the plate instead. This resulted in square-like rainbow worms fanning out on all sides, perfectly mixed, and created a lovely centerpiece in the middle of the shaving cream mound.
Barbasol Shaving Cream ingredients are as follows: Water, Stearic Acid, Isobutane, Triethanolamine, Laureth-23, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Lanolin Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Chamomile Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (Chamomile), Chondrus Crispus (Carragreenan) Extract (Irish Moss), Propoxylated Stearyl Alcohol, Dimethyl Lauramine Oleate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Propane, Fragrance. Therefore, most of Barbasol is comprised of water, saturated fatty acids, inorganic and organic bases, fragrance and “natural” derivatives. Propane was a surprising ingredient to me on this list. Apparently, most canned shaving cream contain multiple ingredients and chemicals that are highly flammable and can be potentially damaging to the skin after habitual use. As for the physics of the event occuring, the force of gravity is a key player. This coupled with the chemical composition of the shaving cream and food dye created.
The size of the field of view was approximately 6 inches across, with the distance from object to lens being 8 inches away. The lens focal length was 55, the dimensions at 6000 x 4000, the F number was 5.6, and the exposure time was set to 1/100. This image was shot on a Canon EOS Rebel T6i digital camera. After photographing, I took advantage of Adobe’s photo-editing software Lightroom and made a few adjustments. I mainly tinkered with the saturation, vibrance, highlights, whites and blacks, and the clarity. Once those edits were finalized, the fully-finished photo was completed.
Overall, I am quite satisfied with how this project turned out. I was the one who found the idea online and wanted the cream to look exactly the same as the demonstration in the video. Once I finished, I realized my setup yielded a much more appealing picture than the demonstration’s! I could have used a slightly different lighting setup than I did, since I was essentially using the soft lighting from underneath our cabinets in a kitchen. Additionally, next time I will make sure to be more deliberate with recording the specifics of my setup.
ferrofluid and glow sticks, long exposure showing magnetic field of magnet.
a website I made with the images
Read the report
With this image our group combined two things we were interested in working with: ferrofluid and glow sticks. We were inspired by the team first assignment that mixed ferrofluid and watercolor. The result was the characteristic spikes of ferrofluid that appear when the liquid becomes magnetized, surrounded by glowing liquid. Several sequences of images that we made just happened to lend themselves nicely to a gif, so I made one. This sequence of images was made with Garrett, Brandon, Summer, and Zach.
We used a petri dish suspended on a few rolls of tape to hold. We filled the petri dish 1/3 full with ferrofluid and placed a magnet underneath the petri dish, in the space created by the rolls of tape. We proceeded to pour glow stick fluid (a mixture of Dibutyl phthalate, hydrogen peroxide, phthalic ester, and Phenyl oxalate ester) until the petri dish was basically full. We excited the ferrofluid with a plain magnet from McGuckin’s, which induced our flow. We kept turning the magnet over, as opposed to just spinning it around. We worked in a darkened room.
This was a particularly difficult shoot, especially in terms of focus, because we were working in the dark; it’s extremely difficult to focus things in the dark. The sequence of images used to make this gif were taken on a Nikon DSLR using manual focus – probably the reason it appears blurry. The camera was on a tripod about two and a half feet away from the flow, and was zoomed in. I edited nine sequential images into a gif using Photoshop; the first frame had a 0.2sec frame rate, the remaining eight frames had a 0.1sec frame rate.
I decided to make a gif because the point of ferrofluid is that it moves, and I wanted to showcase the motion of the flow. The result can be a bit…unsettling. The final product feels very alien to me, kind of creepy, kind of horror movie-ish, but the sense of motion is definitely there.