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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 10 Issue 3 (2005) pp 204-207

From Rust To High Tech: Semi-Synthesis Of A Ferrofluid Using FeO Nanoparticles

Lisa M. Stuber, Elizabeth M. Rachford, Christopher S. Jordan, Scott J. Mitchell, Crystal Tabron, Thomas J. Manning‡,*

Georgia Governor’s Honors Program, Chemistry section, Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Georgia, 31698 and. Department of Chemistry, Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Georgia, 31698,
Received July 20, 2004. Accepted May 5, 2005.

Published online: 27 May 2005

Abstract. Metal oxide nanoparticles are an important material in nanotechnology. Ferrofluids, which are typically made from iron oxide (Fe3O4) nanoparticles, have found commercial applications and are widely used in academic research and educational activities. This study describes the novel semisynthesis of a ferrofluid using commercially available iron oxide nanoparticles (FeO) as the starting material. It forms the spiked solution indicative of a ferrofluid. Three educational goals were the driving force behind the development of this experiment: (a) students work with a cutting edge nanotechnology material that is safe, economical, and can be completed in a three-hour laboratory session; (b) the results of the experiments can be clearly observed without the need for expensive or research-grade equipment (i.e, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, scanning tunneling microscopy, etc.); and (c) it emphasizes some of the basic concepts taught in a general chemistry class, such as oxidation and reduction and stoichiometry.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; general chemistry; nanoparticles

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Supporting Materials:

A current application for ferrofluids and a projected future application associated with some aspect of science and engineering given by a student hoping to obtain a degree in aerospace engineering is included in a Zip File as supporting material (10 KB).

Issue date: June 1, 2005

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