By Vanessa Rene
In the early Nineteen Sixties, a NASA engineer named Stephen Papell first developed Ferrofluid. His mission was to create a means of transporting rocket fuel in zero gravity. The concept of adding surfactant-coated magnetic particles to the fuel which could then be manipulated by peristaltic magnetic fields was a novel idea, but one that was ultimately passed over in favor of solid rocket fuel. This probably made sense, given that there were fewer moving parts and less to go wrong with the system, but it left NASA with a technology in search of an application. To those familiar with the story, it resolved when two scientists at AVCO licensed the technology, which would lead to the founding of Ferrofluidics, which later became Ferrotec Corporation. What though, you ask, is this stuff actually good for, anyway?