Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Levitate Heaviest Elements With Help From Cold Oxygen

Date:
May 11, 2005
Source:
Institute of Physics
Summary:
Scientists at the University of Nottingham have successfully levitated diamond and some of the heaviest elements, including lead and platinum. Using liquid oxygen to increase the buoyancy created by a specially designed superconducting magnet, they could now levitate a hypothetical object with a density 15 times larger than that of the densest known material, osmium. This research is published today (11th May 2005) in the New Journal of Physics co-owned by the Institute of Physics and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (the German Physical Society).

Scientists at the University of Nottingham have successfully levitated diamond and some of the heaviest elements, including lead and platinum. Using liquid oxygen to increase the buoyancy created by a specially designed superconducting magnet, they could now levitate a hypothetical object with a density 15 times larger than that of the densest known material, osmium. This research is published May 11, 2005 in the New Journal of Physics.

Writing in the New Journal of Physics, the team led by Professor Laurence Eaves and Professor Peter King, describes for the first time how mixtures of oxygen and nitrogen in the liquid and gaseous states provide sufficient buoyancy to levitate a wide variety of objects including diamonds, a 1 coin, and heavy metals such as gold, silver, lead and platinum.

Some materials, called diamagnetic, tend to become magnetized in a direction opposite to the magnetic field being applied to them. Magnetic levitation occurs when the force on such an object is strong enough to balance the weight of the object itself. If the object is immersed in a fluid such as gaseous oxygen, the levitation can be enhanced by the effect of buoyancy caused by the "magneto-Archimedes" effect.

Liquid oxygen, the main component in many rocket fuels, is highly combustible. It is potentially dangerous to use but makes it much easier to float dense objects using commercially available magnets because it boosts the buoyancy effect due to the inherent magnetism of each molecule of oxygen. This allows you to float objects as heavy as gold with relatively low-power magnets. Eaves and King and their co-workers have now investigated the use of a safer mixture of liquid nitrogen and oxygen, and found the optimum mixture for floating heavy objects in safety, making commercial applications of this technology possible.

Levitating heavy objects in this way has a variety of potential applications, especially in the mining and pharmaceutical industries. In mining for precious stones such as diamonds, a method for accurately filtering the gems you want from the surrounding rock and soil is worth its weight in gold.

Peter King explains: "You can use this technology to accurately sort minerals. Under vibration you throw crushed ore into the air and in the magnet the different components experience different effective gravity. They therefore tend to land at different times and after a short while the vibration sorts them into bands according to their density. The method can discriminate between components with very small differences in density enabling you to extract the precious parts you require."

Their research lab is also the only facility in the UK specializing in zero-gravity experiments, and is currently being used by various research groups including one studying how plants germinate and grow in zero-gravity conditions, essential knowledge for long-haul space flights.

Their work is supported by the Basic Technology Scheme of Research Councils UK.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute of Physics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Institute of Physics. "Scientists Levitate Heaviest Elements With Help From Cold Oxygen." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 May 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/05/050511084556.htm>.
Institute of Physics. (2005, May 11). Scientists Levitate Heaviest Elements With Help From Cold Oxygen. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/05/050511084556.htm
Institute of Physics. "Scientists Levitate Heaviest Elements With Help From Cold Oxygen." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/05/050511084556.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Robotic Eyes' Helps Japan's Bipedal Bot Run Faster

'Robotic Eyes' Helps Japan's Bipedal Bot Run Faster

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 16, 2014) Japanese researcher uses an eye-sensor camera to enable a bipedal robot to balance itself, while running on a treadmill. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lockheed Martin's Fusion Concept Basically An Advertisement

Lockheed Martin's Fusion Concept Basically An Advertisement

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) Lockheed Martin announced plans to develop the first-ever compact nuclear fusion reactor. But some experts said the excitement is a little premature. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Confirmed Case Of Google Glass Addiction

First Confirmed Case Of Google Glass Addiction

Buzz60 (Oct. 15, 2014) A Google Glass user was treated for Internet Addiction Disorder caused from overuse of the device. Morgan Manousos (@MorganManousos) has the details on how many hours he spent wearing the glasses, and what his symptoms were. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Science Proves Why Pizza Is So Delicious

Science Proves Why Pizza Is So Delicious

Buzz60 (Oct. 15, 2014) The American Chemical Society’s latest video about chemistry in every day life breaks down pizza, and explains exactly why it's so delicious. Gillian Pensavalle (@GillianWithaG) has the video. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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