Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

ORNL Discovery May Lead To New Thinking, Materials

Date:
April 5, 1999
Source:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Summary:
Oil and water do mix after all, some chemists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have discovered, and their finding may lead to new advanced materials and have other ramifications.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., March 30, 1999 -- Oil and water do mix after all, some chemists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have discovered, and their finding may lead to new advanced materials and have other ramifications.

The key to their discovery lies in a technique involving micro-droplets of an evaporating solution. This process allows chemists to work at the molecular level with a variety of chemical compounds called polymers, which make up many of the products we use every day. By working with these minuscule particles, the chemists can blend two polymers within a single micro-particle, provided that the initial droplet is less than 10 micrometers in diameter.

"For small droplets of a solution, solvent evaporation takes place quickly enough to inhibit phase separation, producing dry polymer blend particles that have uniform structure to within molecular dimensions," said Mike Barnes of ORNL's Chemical and Analytical Sciences Division. "It's kind of like putting football fans of crosstown rivals in a huge room where they normally wouldn't mix, and then shrinking the room into the size of a phone booth before the fans can separate."

In addition to the academic significance of this discovery, the finding clears the way for development of new materials in the form of bulk composites and blends that can be used for coatings, opto-electronic components, magnetic media, ceramics and special materials, micro- or nano-manufacturing and bioengineering. The researchers see first applications in sophisticated drug delivery systems.

"Eventually, we believe this will lead to new high-strength materials, better paints and coatings and a number of other consumer products," said co-developer Don Noid of ORNL. "Initially, though, we see this technology being used to carry specially engineered molecules into cells within the body as part of medical treatments."

The discovery grew out of a basic energy science effort to probe single molecules. "There is great interest in isolating and manipulating single molecules," Barnes said, "and that's why we developed the droplet approach."

The different backgrounds of ORNL's Barnes, Noid and Bobby Sumpter and collaborator Joshua Otaigbe of Iowa State University also played an important role in the discovery. While Barnes' background is in the laboratory, Noid and Sumpter have expertise in computational modeling. Otaigbe is an expert in materials properties and characterization of polymer powders and it was through working with him that the importance of polymeric particles came to light.

The combination of expertise in theory and practical experience helped in developing the micro-droplet technique for polymer particle generation, Sumpter said. In addition, this finding, published in the Feb. 1 issue of Optical Society of America's "Optics Letters," could provide some new tools for understanding how to make composite materials from immiscible polymers.

"We use computational tools to study the properties of the experimentally generated nanoscale polymer particles," Sumpter said. "These simulations can provide useful insights to interpret the experimental data and behavior of ultra-fine polymer particles in new materials and devices."

The research was funded by DOE and the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program, an internal source of funding, at ORNL.

ORNL is a DOE multiprogram research facility managed by Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Oak Ridge National Laboratory. "ORNL Discovery May Lead To New Thinking, Materials." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 April 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990405065214.htm>.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory. (1999, April 5). ORNL Discovery May Lead To New Thinking, Materials. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990405065214.htm
Oak Ridge National Laboratory. "ORNL Discovery May Lead To New Thinking, Materials." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990405065214.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shipping Crates Get New 'lease' On Life

Shipping Crates Get New 'lease' On Life

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 25, 2014) Shipping containers have been piling up as America imports more than it exports. Some university students in Washington D.C. are set to get a first-hand lesson in recycling. Their housing is being built using refashioned shipping containers. Lily Jamali reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins