Magnetic levitation in the analysis of foods and water

Katherine A. Mirica, Scott T. Phillips, Charles R. MacE, George M. Whitesides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


This paper describes a method and a sensor that use magnetic levitation (MagLev) to characterize samples of food and water on the basis of measurements of density. The sensor comprises two permanent NdFeB magnets positioned on top of each other in a configuration with like poles facing and a container filled with a solution of paramagnetic ions. Measurements of density are obtained by suspending a diamagnetic object in the container filled with the paramagnetic fluid, placing the container between the magnets, and measuring the vertical position of the suspended object. MagLev was used to estimate the salinity of water, to compare a variety of vegetable oils on the basis of the ratio of polyunsaturated fat to monounsaturated fat, to compare the contents of fat in milk, cheese, and peanut butter, and to determine the density of grains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6565-6569
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of agricultural and food chemistry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 9 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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