Ferrofluid Jewelry by: Jon Garcia - Wearable Technology in Motion

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Ferrofluid Jewelry by: Jon Garcia - Wearable Technology in Motion

Innovative Jewelry Designer Jonathon Garcia Presents the Ferrofluid Pendant – Where Art and the Thrill of Technology Intersect

Jonathon Garcia is excited to be at the forefront of an artistic movement that combines science, technology, and the timeless allure of jewelry. At 29 years old, he’s leading one of the most fascinating jewelry revolutions of our time: ferrofluid jewelry design. At his Michigan company, Elegant Technology, he’s debuting the Ferrofluid Pendant, a masterpiece bedecked with 9.77 carats of VVS1 colorless black and white diamonds, and 55.5 grams of 14K white gold. This pendant is on the market for $24,000, along with other wearable technology pieces he’s created. Jon discusses the unique medium that inspired him, and why he loves bringing it to the masses.

From a very young age, Jonathon knew he wanted to design jewelry. “During free reading time in school, other kids were reading mystery novels while I read all about diamonds and gems,” he says. His dedication paid off. After beginning jewelry design in high school, he graduated in 2004 and left straight for New York to learn from the best in Manhattan’s jewelry district. He met many master jewelers there who agreed to teach him everything they knew, and spent two years working under his mentors before striking out on his own.

His interest in designing high-end contemporary jewelry took a turn for the experimental when he stumbled across magnetized ferrofluid one day on YouTube. Thanks to CZFerro and their instrumental role in presenting ferrofluid as a popular artistic medium, he knew he’d discovered the future of jewelry.

“Once I researched more about ferrofluid and learned about its future potential for the biomedical field, along with other beneficial applications, I knew I wanted to use it in my jewelry store.” Jon knows that in an age where technology dominates our lives, designing cyber punk pieces using a fluid originally invented by NASA was the natural direction to take.

Garcia finds working with ferrofluid to be a challenging, yet exciting journey. In spite of many trials and tribulations, he knows he has found his niche in the sprawling jewelry world. And he will never forget who introduced him to the mercurial liquid. He says, “Above all, I give special thanks to CZFerro for helping make these unique designs come to life.”

To see the Ferrofluid Pendant in action, watch the video above showcasing Garcia’s genius. Other work includes a pendant enclosure for the 6th Generation Nano iPod and various nouveau steampunk pieces. For more information on Jon and how to purchase his high-end jewelry, check out his website today.

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A Brief History of Ferrofluid

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A Brief History of Ferrofluid

Ferrofluid’s Roots

All magnetic materials known to man since their discovery were in solid forms, either as permanent magnets or soft magnetic materials. Although some kind of magnetic suspensions existed in the 1930s, it was the dream of man to create a durable, stable liquid magnet.  The drive to create such a magnetic liquid came during the early years (1960s) of the NASA program.

Steven Papell at NASA was tasked with controlling and directing liquid rocket fuel in outer space. The absence of gravity allowed the fuel to float in the holding tank and it was therefore a challenge to pump the fuel efficiently into the rocket engine. Papell envisioned converting the nonmagnetic rocket fuel into a fuel having magnetic properties so that it could be controlled under zero gravity by powerful magnets or pumped through switching magnetic fields. Papell is credited in literature with the preparation of the first magnetic fluid, based on kerosene.  He obtained a US patent in 1965.

This idea was never put into practice by the space agency, due to their preference for solid rocket fuel. By all modern standards, the magnetic fluid synthesized by Papell was crude and would not be practical for any present day applications. However, it set the foundation for intense scientific research and development on magnetic fluid technology.

The pioneering research funded by NASA under the technical leadership of Ron Rosensweig at AVCO Corporation, Wilmington, MA led to the development of a wide variety of early magnetic liquids for commercial use. The magnetization and stability of the fluids were greatly improved. The fluid mechanics of magnetic fluid phenomenon was recognized as a new branch of science and was named Ferrohydrodynamics.

Commercial use of ferrofluids began in 1968 with the founding of Ferrofluidics Corporation by R.E. Rosensweig and R. Moskowitz. The official name for the product was given as ferrofluid.  Since then, the company and the product have both changed a great deal, in both size and applications.  To understand how ferrofluids are used in today’s world, let’s begin with an understanding of how ferrofluids are created.

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Carthage University

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Carthage University

BACK TO ZERO-GRAVITY ROOTS

While Concept Zero is no stranger to making noise for their innovative use of ferrofluid as an artistic medium, they are headed to the spotlight again—this time for bringing the magnetic fluid back to its roots. Long before there was any conception of the potential for ferrofluid’s artistic capabilities, the colloidal liquid was developed by NASA scientist, Steve Papell, as a rocket fuel. The students at Carthage University are about to bring it back home. 

When the Carthage RockSat Team submitted a proposal to the Colorado and Virginia Space Grant Consortia, they knew that their experiment would be logistically complex. They intended to test a new technique for measuring the mass of liquid in a propellant tank that uses ferrofluid as fuel. To conduct the experiment, they would need to build a ferrofluid-holding container in a magnetic field and run a current through the field at varied magnitudes. Then, they would measure the height of the peaks that formed as a result of the varied magnitudes to calculate the mass. But first, they would need a chamber that the ferrofluid didn't stain to run the equipment.

As soon as Carthage’s students were notified that their proposal was one of the few to be accepted into the program, they approached Concept Zero for a donation, and the artists were more than happy to provide them with the necessary chamber. 

Now, the Carthage University students are ready to complete the next step of the program. They will be traveling to NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia. There, they will have a chance to conduct their experiment in a two-stage, Terrier-Orion sounding rocket that will provide zero-gravity conditions. “We are using two cameras to record footage of the ferrofluid during flight,” explains Amelia Gear, one of the Carthage RockSat Team members, when asked what will happen during the four-minute-long, sub-orbital rocket launch. “After we recover the experiment from the rocket, we will compare the microgravity footage with footage gathered in earth gravity conditions and compare peak heights.”

Beyond the learning opportunity for Carthage’s students, the results of this experiment could someday have extremely practical applications. The type of fuel gauges used to run vehicles here on Earth do not work in zero-gravity, and NASA has identified finding an alternative fuel source as one of the solutions to successful deep space exploration. Depending on what Gear and her fellow students find when their holding container is exposed to zero gravity conditions, ferrofluid could hold the key.

The launch is set to take place during the summer of 2014. For now, those involved from Carthage University and Concept Zero are happy to see the experiment come this far, but they remain hopeful for future possibilities. In their opinion, ferrofluid’s potential is limitless.

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