New Hope for Black Art Magic

The Opposite of Vanna White, Sort OfArthur C. Clark’s third law states “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Consequently, we search the scientific journals daily for advanced technology we can incorporate into magic tricks.

Dark Matter is a cool concept but until we can use it in a packet trick or our 75 minute-long Ambitious Card routine, it can remain in the realm of the scientists.

Magnetar’s have compressed magnetic fields as strong as 101 Tesla.

How strong is that? How about a cool billion times stronger than anything that can be found or created on this planet.

You could do some incredible coin magic with something like that. Some of our favorite vanishing gimmicks would be greatly enhanced if we could, say, have a steel-core coin get sucked through a wooden table. We checked with some physicists about it and they said it would be unwieldy for use in a close-up magic situation. Actually, they didn’t say that exactly, they just didn’t return our emails – kind of the same thing.

But scientists in the United Kingdom (or “UK” as the cool kids call it on the webs) have announced the innovation that could revolutionize magic forever.

Surrey NanoSystems has developed something called Vantablack® — which sounds like it should be the opposite of but isn’t – and claims that it is the darkest black ever created.

According to their press materials, Vantablack is “revolutionary in its ability to be applied to light-weight, temperature-sensitive structures such as aluminium whilst absorbing 99.96% of incident radiation, believed to be the highest-ever recorded.”

By “aluminium” they mean “aluminum” and by “whilst” they mean “while.”  It’s metric we think.

By incident radiation, they mean “light.” We think.

So imagine the possibilities. You could do a act in broad daylight. Light would literally (as opposed to figuratively) be absorbed into the stuff and your audience would have no idea how the magic was happening.

Plus, because it is based on nanotube technology, it can provide a strong structure; stronger than a piece of felt taped to a tin can.

It is the well-established policy of Inside Magic to never reveal magic secrets – ever. So we cannot specify just how this product would be used in a black art act or even on some of the props we bought from magic shops in the last year but you likely know exactly what we mean.

Why haven’t more magicians used super black nanotube-based materials before now? Sure, there is the cost factor – a few hundred thousand for a custom made four-inch square of the stuff. But there was the manufacturing hassle as well. As readers know, “the manufacture of `super-black` carbon nanotube-based materials has traditionally required high temperatures, preventing their direct application to sensitive electronics or materials with relatively low melting points. This, along with poor adhesion, prevented their application to critical space and air-borne instrumentation.”

Duh!

But Surrey NanoSystems hacked its own low-temperature manufacturing process used in silicon fabrication to work on aluminum.

As a result, it is not only just super black it also has “the highest thermal conductivity and lowest mass-volume of any material that can be used in high-emissivity applications. It has virtually undetectable levels of outgassing and particle fallout, thus eliminating a key source of contamination in sensitive imaging systems.”

We have been saying for years there should be a way to have high thermal conductivity without detectable levels of “outgassing and particle fallout.” Finally, that day is here.

We wrote to Surrey NanoSystems and asked if it would be practical for most black art applications. We haven’t heard back yet but we will update this article the second we hear. In the meantime, we will be reconsidering all of the tricks we no longer use now that we do not have to worry about outgassing and particle fallout.

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