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Modeling Magnetic Configurations for Improved Separations of Magnetic and Non-Magnetic Materials

S. Khushrushahi1 T.A. Hatton1 M. Zahn1
1Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA

Separating magnetic oil from a vessel containing a mixture of magnetic oil and non-magnetic water using permanent magnets and Halbach arrays.

Magnetic separation of magnetic liquid phases/particles from non-magnetic liquid phases/particles are needed for applications such as cleaning up oil spills by separating oil and water liquid phases or separating magnetic materials from non-magnetic materials in biomedical and microfluidic applications.
Magnetic fluids (also called ferrofluids), in a magnetic field, experience a magnetic force density. COMSOL Multiphysics was used to show that magnetic energy density of a particular permanent magnet configuration is a more intuitive way of understanding how a magnetic fluid moves in a magnetic field. As a result, a novel magnetic separation technique was developed, using permanent magnet edges and Halbach magnet arrays, that separated a variable magnetic volume fraction from a mixture of magnetic and non-magnetic liquid phases.

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