03/28/2013 03:35 pm ET Updated Apr 01, 2013

Magnetic Silly Putty Time-Lapse VIDEO Shows Power Of Rare-Earth Metals

In a scene straight out of the 1958 horror flick "The Blob," a new YouTube clip shows a lump of magnetic silly putty completely engulfing a magnet.

The event, captured by YouTube user Scott Lawson, actually took an hour and a half, but luckily we're treated to a time-lapse view.

How does it work? "Ferromagnetic particles in the putty are strongly attracted to the magnet and very slowly engulf the surface of the magnet," Lawson wrote in the video's description. "The putty looks and feels like regular silly putty, but the difference lies in the fact that it has been infused with millions of micron-sized ferrous particles."

But it wouldn't work with just any old magnet. Lawson noted that the magnet shown in the video is a powerful neodymium iron boron magnet -- the type that can destroy a TV screen or disable the magnetic strip on a credit card.

The magnet needs to be powerful enough, but after that the physics are pretty simple. The magnet produces a relatively strong magnetic field, and the resulting electromagnetic force pulls on other materials that are ferromagnetic -- which means they are able to be magnetized -- like the putty.

If left to its own devices, the putty would eventually arrange itself around the magnet so it's as evenly distributed as possible. Talk about magnetic attraction!



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