Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

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

Multi-million pound project to use nanotechnology to improve safety September 4th, 2015

Magnetic wormhole connecting 2 regions of space created for the first time: The device could have applications in medicine, opening up ways to make MRIs more comfortable for patients September 4th, 2015

Tongfang Global and QD Vision Partner to Bring Wide Color Gamut to Global Television Lines: Color IQTM quantum dots help boost company’s focus on superior color reproduction September 3rd, 2015

QEOS and GLOBALFOUNDRIES to Offer Industry’s First CMOS Platform for MillimeterWave Markets: GLOBALSOLUTIONSSM Partnership will enable next-generation wireless technologies for applications in IoT, 5G and automotive September 3rd, 2015

Chemistry

A new technique to make drugs more soluble August 28th, 2015

Nanocatalysts improve processes for the petrochemical industry August 28th, 2015

Researchers combine disciplines, computational programs to determine atomic structure August 26th, 2015

Laser-burned graphene gains metallic powers: Rice University scientists find possible replacement for platinum as catalyst August 20th, 2015

Discoveries

Magnetic wormhole connecting 2 regions of space created for the first time: The device could have applications in medicine, opening up ways to make MRIs more comfortable for patients September 4th, 2015

QEOS and GLOBALFOUNDRIES to Offer Industry’s First CMOS Platform for MillimeterWave Markets: GLOBALSOLUTIONSSM Partnership will enable next-generation wireless technologies for applications in IoT, 5G and automotive September 3rd, 2015

Making nanowires from protein and DNA September 3rd, 2015

Making fuel from light: Argonne research sheds light on photosynthesis and creation of solar fuel September 3rd, 2015

Announcements

Multi-million pound project to use nanotechnology to improve safety September 4th, 2015

Magnetic wormhole connecting 2 regions of space created for the first time: The device could have applications in medicine, opening up ways to make MRIs more comfortable for patients September 4th, 2015

Making nanowires from protein and DNA September 3rd, 2015

Making fuel from light: Argonne research sheds light on photosynthesis and creation of solar fuel September 3rd, 2015

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







Car Brands
Buy website traffic