Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

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

GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Chengdu Partner to Expand FD-SOI Ecosystem in China: More than $100M investment to establish a center of excellence for FDXTM FD-SOI design May 23rd, 2017

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria: Rice, Ben-Gurion universities show laser-induced graphene kills bacteria, resists biofouling May 22nd, 2017

Leti Will Demo World’s-first WVGA 10-µm Pitch GaN Microdisplays for Augmented Reality Video at Display Week in Los Angles: Invited Paper also Will Present Leti’s Success with New Augmented Reality Technology That Reduces Pixel Pitch to Less than 5 Microns May 22nd, 2017

Graphene-nanotube hybrid boosts lithium metal batteries: Rice University prototypes store 3 times the energy of lithium-ion batteries May 19th, 2017

Chemistry

Stanford scientists use nanotechnology to boost the performance of key industrial catalyst May 18th, 2017

Sandia develops math techniques to improve computational efficiency in quantum chemistry May 5th, 2017

Metal nanoparticles induced visible-light photocatalysis: Mechanisms, applications, ways of promoting catalytic activity and outlook April 27th, 2017

Shedding light on the absorption of light by titanium dioxide April 14th, 2017

Discoveries

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria: Rice, Ben-Gurion universities show laser-induced graphene kills bacteria, resists biofouling May 22nd, 2017

Sensors detect disease markers in breath May 19th, 2017

Graphene-nanotube hybrid boosts lithium metal batteries: Rice University prototypes store 3 times the energy of lithium-ion batteries May 19th, 2017

Plasmon-powered upconversion nanocrystals for enhanced bioimaging and polarized emission: Plasmonic gold nanorods brighten lanthanide-doped upconversion superdots for improved multiphoton bioimaging contrast and enable polarization-selective nonlinear emissions for novel nanoscal May 19th, 2017

Announcements

GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Chengdu Partner to Expand FD-SOI Ecosystem in China: More than $100M investment to establish a center of excellence for FDXTM FD-SOI design May 23rd, 2017

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria: Rice, Ben-Gurion universities show laser-induced graphene kills bacteria, resists biofouling May 22nd, 2017

Leti Will Demo World’s-first WVGA 10-µm Pitch GaN Microdisplays for Augmented Reality Video at Display Week in Los Angles: Invited Paper also Will Present Leti’s Success with New Augmented Reality Technology That Reduces Pixel Pitch to Less than 5 Microns May 22nd, 2017

Graphene-nanotube hybrid boosts lithium metal batteries: Rice University prototypes store 3 times the energy of lithium-ion batteries May 19th, 2017

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