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I wondered if magnets could be used to hold a drop of molten liquid metal in air (not for any particular reason just because it could be done), but was disappointed when a quick Google search showed the metal would lose its magnetic traits before it melted.

Are there any other forces that could be used to suspend a drop of molten liquid metal in air such as sound waves, high pressure air, electric currents, or anything else?

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possible duplicate of Will molten iron stick to a magnet? –  Brandon Enright Apr 20 at 3:44
    
@BrandonEnright but this question is phrased to include any metal, and would include suspending by paramagnetic or diamagnetic effect, analogous to liquid oxygen being suspended between the poles of a magnet. –  DavePhD Apr 20 at 10:43
    
This is used to measure the surface tension of liquid metals. –  akid Apr 20 at 10:59
    
@DavePhD yeah the question is way too broadly worded if you allow for anything. For example, your answer is "yes" and a series of links. –  Brandon Enright Apr 20 at 16:37
    
I added an explanation to the answer so it's not just "yes" anymore. –  DavePhD Apr 21 at 1:27

2 Answers 2

Yes, it is possible to magnetically levitate molten metal. This is not due to ferromagnetism however. As seen in the below references, the metal sample is placed within a tapered conducting coil, which carries alternating electric current in the ~400kilohertz range. This sets up a magnetic field gradient inside the coil and causes eddy currents in the sample. The applied magnetic field is excluded from the interior of the sample. The sample experiences a force in the direction of decreasing magnetic field strength.

See the following for more information:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=intDuSJ2_PA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6Zrnv4OtbU

http://www.google.com/patents/US2686864

http://www.google.com/patents/US2686865

http://www.cs.duke.edu/~reif/temp/MagneticLevitation/LevitationSuveys/Levitation%20in%20Physics.pdf

http://www.modlab.lv/publications/mmp2010/pdfs/015-020.pdf

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Molten glass is suspended (and spun) on air jets to form "pre-forms" for molding glass optics. I suspect that the same must be possible for metals.

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