BI-2 Artist Friend of Science -- Requesting help with this sculpture project

My artistic interests and compositions include several areas. Painting, Drawing, Sculpting, Photography, and Photograph Restoration. My interest in joining a group of physicists besides enjoying my personal association with science-minded people which has been a good and positive one historically.

I have come here with you and this group to learn about something that I need to know in order to create a sculpture that I want to make and believe that it is possible to do, but honestly know what I don't know and appear here humbly to learn some specifics that I will need to know to make my sculpture.

First a brief history of the work I want to do. In 1978 I carved a catfish out of walnut which included a large rock base and a mix of brass and bronze rods for barbels and a pivotal mounting system between the rock and the walnut catfish. Today I want to do a similar creation except I want to use some urethane foam (to carve the fish), a rock as a base, and the proper placement of electromagnets in the rock base and regular magnets inside of the urethane foam fish.

The idea here, if you haven't already guessed is to create the state of the fish floating in place above the rock. I know pretty much nothing about how to do this, except that the magnetic poles should be the same to create a rejection field (my term) between the rock and the fish. Perhaps there might even be some additions of opposite poles to create an area of attraction, but I don't know.

Therefore, those who can share with me the relationship of weight, magnet specifications to separate the fish from the rock and whatever else I must include in my design, that person or group of persons are my instructors. Any interest or questions please let me know.

This is a project that I am prepared to be involved with until I achieve a reasonable level of success, weight and distance numbers will have to be determined before, during and at completion on the carving and composition to fit what are a set of specific mathematical standards to create the proper field.
 

berkeman

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Welcome to the PF! :smile:

I'll go ahead and move this thread from the Introductions forum to the DIY forum, where it will get good replies.

Can you post a sketch of what you want it to look like? (Use the Upload button to attach a PDF or JPEG file to your reply.) Do you want the fish to be "floating in air" above the rock using magnetic forces?
 
Yes, the design is to have the rock as a base and the fish to be floating above the rock to give the look of the fish swimming over the rock, float in the air or virtual water. The length of the fish at this point is about 3 feet or so, the rock about the same. The fish will have a classical "Greek S" design which will give it a sense of motion.
fish_rock_design.png
 

berkeman

Mentor
55,699
5,783
Glad to help. :smile: Others here at the PF can give you lots better guidance and tips on this project, but hopefully I can get you started in your reading and thoughts on it.

This Wikipedia article is a good place to start: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_levitation

As you can see in the article, if you follow the link to Earnshaw's Theorem, you will see that it's probably not possible for this to be built with just permanent magnets (there is a stability problem in the position of the levitated fish).

A more straightforward way would be to use eddy currents on some metal structures inside the fish to keep it levitated above the rock. Can the rock portion of the sculpture have an AC Mains power cord running to it? If not, can it contain moderate-sized batteries that get recharged each night?
 
This is great, I will dig into the article that you provided on magnetic levitation. The question of cord or batteries will probably go to a cord or a combination of a cord that can recharge the batteries (as backup power) and supply the primary power to the floating event. Thanks B
 

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