Microscopic Magnetic Firestorm

In recent years, researchers discovered that the propagation of flame fronts on a burning sheet of paper (also known as deflagration) and the realignment of magnetic fields in some materials follow similar mathematical rules.

The first of these three videos shows a simulation of magnetic deflagration initiated by a large magnetic field. The second demonstrates how a propagating wave of flipping magnetic elements can emit light. The third demonstrates magnetic deflagration as a switch that controls current in an electrical circuit. 

Related Abstract

Gray arrow  Experiments on Magnetic Deflagration

Reporters and Editors

Reporters may freely use this video. Credit format: Video courtesy of Dr. Joan Manel Hernandez, Group of Magnetism, University of Barcelona (2011).


Tiny tumbling magnets flip in a wave that propagates in much the same way that fire spreads across a piece of paper.