Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Flowing Structures in Soft Crystals

Intriguing structures formed by tiny particles floating in liquids. (Copyright: Vienna University of Technology)
Intriguing structures formed by tiny particles floating in liquids. (Copyright: Vienna University of Technology)

Abstract:
A liquid does not have to be a disordered bunch of particles: A team of researchers at Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna) and the University of Vienna has discovered intriguing structures formed by tiny particles floating in liquids. Under mechanical strain, particle clusters in liquids can spontaneously form strings and dramatically alter the properties of the liquid.

Flowing Structures in Soft Crystals

Vienna, Austria | Posted on August 8th, 2011

What is common to blood, ink and gruel? They are all liquids in which tiny particles are suspended - so called "colloids". In some of these liquids, the particles form groups (clusters), which form regular structures, much like atoms in a crystal. A team of researchers from TU Vienna and Vienna University has now managed to study the remarkable properties of these crystal-like substances in computer simulations. Under mechanical strain, the crystalline pattern can change into a different structure, or it can vanish completely. The researchers anticipate a broad range of practical applications for these effects. The results of their calculations have now been published in the scientific journal "Physical Review Letters".

Regular Structures in Liquids
If small particles accumulate, they can form clusters. Within a cluster, the particles may overlap and mingle, similar to a densely packed shoal of eels, gliding past each other. Remarkably, these clusters are not situated at random positions, but they spontaneously form a regular structure - a "cluster crystal". The distance between two neighboring clusters is constant. "Increasing the density of particles adds more and more particles to each cluster - but the distance between them stays the same", says Arash Nikoubashman, PhD-student at TU Vienna. He made the calculations together with Professor Gerhard Kahl (Institute for Theoretical Physics, TU Vienna) and Professor Christos Likos (University of Vienna).

Crystal Structure Turning into Strings
"Previous results had already led us to believe that these particles could exhibit strange behavior under certain external conditions", the physicists explain. And their hopes were not unfounded: in computer simulations they managed to calculate how the crystal-like structure behaves under mechanical strain that causes shears stress - which means that surfaces within the liquid are shifted relative to each other. At first, the crystal structure starts to melt, the connections between the clusters are broken. From these molten particle clusters, a new regular order starts to emerge spontaneously. Long, straight strings of particle are formed, neatly aligned in parallel.

Thin and Thick
While these strings are created, the liquid gets thinner, its viscosity decreases. This is due to the strings being able to slide relative to one another. If the material is subject to even more strain, the strings break up too, a "molten" unstructured ensemble of particle clusters remains, and the viscosity of the liquid increases again. More and more particles are washed away from their original positions and inhibit the flow. This behavior is the same for all kinds of cluster crystals. With a simple theoretical model, the critical strain, at which the ordered structure vanishes completely, can be predicted very accurately.

Under shear strain, crystals made of soft, penetrable particles can exhibit new kinds of self-organization. Geometric structures emerge, governed by the kind of forces acting between the particles. This research in the field of "soft matter" in the micro- and nanometer regime is not only interesting from a theoretical point of view. These materials play an important role in our everyday life - such as blood or large biopolymers like DNA. They are important in biotechnology, and also in petrochemistry and pharmacology - wherever tailor-made nano materials are being used. A liquid which can change its viscosity under mechanical stress promises a broad spectrum of possible applications - ranging from vibration dampers to protective clothing.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Scientific contacts
Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Christos Likos
Computational Physics
University of Vienna
1090 Wien, Sensengasse 8
T +43-1-4277-732 30


Arash Nikoubashman
Vienna University of Technology
Wiedner Hauptstraße 8-10
T +43-1-58801-136 31


Press contact
Mag. Veronika Schallhart
Public Relations
University of Vienna
1010 Vienna, Dr.-Karl-Lueger-Ring 1
T +43-1-4277-175 30
M +43-664-60277-175 30

Copyright © University of Vienna

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

Discoveries

Gold nanoparticles conjugated quercetin inhibits epithelial-mesenchymal transition, angiogenesis and invasiveness via EGFR/VEGFR-2 mediated pathway in breast cancer September 27th, 2016

UNAM develops successful nano edible coating which increases life food September 27th, 2016

Crystalline Fault Lines Provide Pathway for Solar Cell Current: New tomographic AFM imaging technique reveals that microstructural defects, generally thought to be detrimental, actually improve conductivity in cadmium telluride solar cells September 26th, 2016

Researchers at the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology show that bending semiconductors generates electricity September 26th, 2016

Materials/Metamaterials

UNAM develops successful nano edible coating which increases life food September 27th, 2016

Crystalline Fault Lines Provide Pathway for Solar Cell Current: New tomographic AFM imaging technique reveals that microstructural defects, generally thought to be detrimental, actually improve conductivity in cadmium telluride solar cells September 26th, 2016

Chains of nanogold – forged with atomic precision September 23rd, 2016

Coffee-infused foam removes lead from contaminated water September 21st, 2016

Announcements

Gold nanoparticles conjugated quercetin inhibits epithelial-mesenchymal transition, angiogenesis and invasiveness via EGFR/VEGFR-2 mediated pathway in breast cancer September 27th, 2016

UNAM develops successful nano edible coating which increases life food September 27th, 2016

Crystalline Fault Lines Provide Pathway for Solar Cell Current: New tomographic AFM imaging technique reveals that microstructural defects, generally thought to be detrimental, actually improve conductivity in cadmium telluride solar cells September 26th, 2016

Researchers at the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology show that bending semiconductors generates electricity September 26th, 2016

Textiles/Clothing

Stretchy supercapacitors power wearable electronics August 25th, 2016

Weird, water-oozing material could help quench thirst: Nanorods' behavior first theorized 20 years ago, but not seen until now June 13th, 2016

Programmable materials find strength in molecular repetition May 23rd, 2016

The impact of anti-odor clothing on the environment March 31st, 2016

Nanobiotechnology

Gold nanoparticles conjugated quercetin inhibits epithelial-mesenchymal transition, angiogenesis and invasiveness via EGFR/VEGFR-2 mediated pathway in breast cancer September 27th, 2016

Tattoo therapy could ease chronic disease: Rice-made nanoparticles tested at Baylor College of Medicine may help control autoimmune diseases September 23rd, 2016

BBI Solutions launches innovative conjugate blocking technology that enhances signal intensity for lateral flow immunoassays September 20th, 2016

Iran to hold intl. school on application of nanomaterials in medicine September 20th, 2016

Research partnerships

Crystalline Fault Lines Provide Pathway for Solar Cell Current: New tomographic AFM imaging technique reveals that microstructural defects, generally thought to be detrimental, actually improve conductivity in cadmium telluride solar cells September 26th, 2016

Tattoo therapy could ease chronic disease: Rice-made nanoparticles tested at Baylor College of Medicine may help control autoimmune diseases September 23rd, 2016

Graphene nanoribbons show promise for healing spinal injuries: Rice University scientists develop Texas-PEG to help knit severed, damaged spinal cords September 19th, 2016

NIST Patents Single-Photon Detector for Potential Encryption and Sensing Apps September 16th, 2016

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