Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Pouring oil on troubled waters scientists solve secrets of the water-oil interface

Abstract:
When oil and water are poured together they meet each other head-on to form a strong and rigid boundary between each other, says new research into how interactions between oil and water work, out this week in Physical Review Letters.

Pouring oil on troubled waters scientists solve secrets of the water-oil interface

London, UK | Posted on August 4th, 2008

This discovery contradicts previous research which suggested that when oil and water meet, a tiny layer of water vapour, invisible to the human eye, forms between them, keeping them apart and creating a weak and fluctuating boundary between the two substances.

Oils are hydrophobic substances which means they repel water, and cannot mix with water. This is illustrated by the way any kind of oil and water remain separate if they are poured into the same cup.

Scientists are interested in understanding exactly how this separation works because these oil-water boundaries play a key role in many chemical and biological processes, from the design of detergents to the function of oily biological membranes, such as the walls of human cells which enclose the watery contents of the cell.

However, analysing the structure of the oil-water interface is very difficult because it fluctuates, moves around and changes as the oil and water themselves move and flow.

The team behind the new study have used computer simulations of water and oil to produce, for the first time, a clear picture of the oil-water interface, without the blurring and lack of clarity that is caused by the movements of the liquids. The computer models show that there is no thin layer of water vapour between the oil and the water as had been predicted - instead the two liquids were shown to be in direct contact with each other along the length of a boundary which was strong and robust, and not weakly fluctuating as expected.

Dr Fernando Bresme from Imperial College London's Department of Chemistry, one of the authors on the new paper, explained the significance of their findings, saying: "This study is one step towards a greater insight into the relationship between oily substances and water at the molecular level - an area of fundamental science which is relatively little-understood, but which has enormous potential for industry, medicine and nanotechnology.

"It was very interesting to see that our results suggest there is no tiny gap between oil and water when they meet. Despite having a reputation for not liking each other, it seems the opposite is true: they may not be able to mix but they come into full contact with each other at a strong interface. Perhaps they like each other more than we previously thought."

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Danielle Reeves
Imperial College London Press Office
Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 2198

Out-of-hours duty press officer:
+44 (0)7803 886248

Copyright © Imperial College London

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Transparent Conductive Films and Sensors Are Hot Segments in Printed Electronics: Start-ups in these fields show above-average momentum, while companies working on emissive displays such as OLED are fading, Lux Research says April 17th, 2014

Harris & Harris Group Continues Its Blog Series to Highlight Most Impactful Portfolio Companies With Champions Oncology, Inc. April 17th, 2014

'Life Redesigned: The Emergence of Synthetic Biology' Lecture at Brookhaven Lab on Wednesday, April 30: Biomedical Engineer James Collins to Speak for BSA Distinguished Lecture Series April 16th, 2014

ECHA Planning Workshop on Regulatory Challenges in the Risk Assessment of Nanomaterials April 16th, 2014

Chemistry

Targeting cancer with a triple threat: MIT chemists design nanoparticles that can deliver three cancer drugs at a time April 15th, 2014

Scientists Succeed in Simultaneous Determination of Acetaminophen, Codeine in Drug Samples April 9th, 2014

Making clothes from sugar: IBN researchers have found a green and efficient method to produce nylon from sugar April 1st, 2014

Good vibrations: Using light-heated water to deliver drugs - Researchers use near-infrared light to warm water-infused polymeric particles April 1st, 2014

Discoveries

Scientists Capture Ultrafast Snapshots of Light-Driven Superconductivity: X-rays reveal how rapidly vanishing 'charge stripes' may be behind laser-induced high-temperature superconductivity April 16th, 2014

Scientists observe quantum superconductor-metal transition and superconducting glass: A team including MIPT physicist observed quantum superconductor-metal transition and superconducting glass April 16th, 2014

UT Arlington physicist creates new nanoparticle for cancer therapy April 16th, 2014

Targeting cancer with a triple threat: MIT chemists design nanoparticles that can deliver three cancer drugs at a time April 15th, 2014

Announcements

Transparent Conductive Films and Sensors Are Hot Segments in Printed Electronics: Start-ups in these fields show above-average momentum, while companies working on emissive displays such as OLED are fading, Lux Research says April 17th, 2014

Harris & Harris Group Continues Its Blog Series to Highlight Most Impactful Portfolio Companies With Champions Oncology, Inc. April 17th, 2014

Aerotech X-Y ball-screw stage for economical high performance Planar positioning April 16th, 2014

Energy Research Facility Construction Project at Brookhaven Lab Wins U.S. Energy Secretary's Achievement Award April 16th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE







  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE