Magnetic Hair

MIT engineers have fabricated a new elastic material coated with microscopic, hairlike structures
that tilt in response to a magnetic field. Depending on the field’s orientation, the microhairs
can tilt to form a path through which fluid can fl ow; the material can even direct water
upward, against gravity. Each microhair, made of nickel, is about 70 microns high and
25 microns wide — about one-fourth the diameter of a human hair. The researchers fabricated
an array of the microhairs onto an elastic, transparent layer of silicone. In experiments,
the magnetically activated material directed not just the flow of fluid, but also light
— much as window blinds tilt to filter the sun. Researchers say the work could lead to waterproofing and anti-glare applications, such as “smart windows” for buildings and cars.

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http://newsoffi ce.mit.edu/2014/magnetic-hair-directs-water-fl ow-0806

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