At the UK's University of
Nottingham physicists are levitating water!
While that sounds entertaining, if not particularly practical,
the applications of Magnetic Levitation could have huge impact on
industries that are, literally, worlds apart.
Plant biologists working in space exploration are keen to
develop plants for use as food on long voyages and with a view to
being able to grow them in reduced gravity. Back down to earth and
engineers in the mining industry are constantly looking for new
ways to access rare minerals. For both groups the answer may lie
with the University of Nottingham's research into Magnetic
Even materials normally regarded as non magnetic, such as water,
plastic or oils, will become weakly magnetised in a powerful
magnetic field. By varying this field the magnetic force can be
powerful enough to counteract earth's gravity, making it possible
to conduct zero gravity experiments without the cost of going into
space, or to "float" minerals according to their
different densities giving easier access to increasingly rare
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Page contact: L HandfordLast revised: Fri 1 Apr 2005