Magnetic Silly Putty Is Mesmerizing, But How Does It Actually Work? (VIDEO)

Play dough has nothing on this magnetic silly putty.

In a mesmerizing new video created by filmmaker Joey Shanks (whose real name is Joe Schenkenberg), the magnetized putty consumes small magnets, covering each form completely -- and the phenomenon can even be seen in reverse.

Though this "swallowing" actually takes quite a bit of time (as seen in a recent magnetic silly putty time-lapse), Shanks sped up the footage to show the process in its entirety. Fascinating.

But, how exactly does the putty completely engulf another magnet?

As described in a "do-it-yourself" video from 2011, the odd putty itself can be created by simply adding ferric iron oxide powder to regular silly putty. After this material is added, the putty becomes ferromagnetic.

While the magnetic putty has the ability to attract magnets until it completely consumes them, not all magnetized objects are susceptible to the pull of its electromagnetic force; only strong magnets that are also ferromagnetic will be drawn in.

"[I]f you place a ferromagnet in a magnetic field it will experience a force that pulls [the magnet] into a region of stronger magnetic field strength," Peter Dourmashkin, a senior lecturer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-author of Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism, told The Huffington Post.

The magnet used in the video is likely quite strong, Dourmashkin said: "The putty is also magnetized and the magnetic field strength of the putty is strongest inside the putty. So the ferromagnet is sucked into the region of greater field strength, which is inside the putty."

Watch Shank's enthralling magnetic silly putty video above, or see a version of it "in reverse" below.



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