Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chemical Engineers Discover New Way To Control Particle Motion

Date:
March 20, 2008
Source:
University of Texas at Austin
Summary:
Chemical engineers have discovered a new way to control the motion of fluid particles through tiny channels, potentially aiding the development of micro- and nano-scale technologies such as drug delivery devices, chemical and biological sensors, and components for miniaturized biological "lab-on-a-chip" applications.

Dr. Thomas Truskett.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Texas at Austin

Chemical engineers at The University of Texas at Austin have discovered a new way to control the motion of fluid particles through tiny channels, potentially aiding the development of micro- and nano-scale technologies such as drug delivery devices, chemical and biological sensors, and components for miniaturized biological "lab-on-a-chip" applications. 

The researchers learned that particle motion is strongly linked to how the particles arrange themselves in a channel.  

“Particle arrangements are determined by the interactions of the particles with their boundaries.  Thus, we were able to use these interactions as a means for controlling how readily the fluid will self-mix, diffuse, and flow,” said Dr. Thomas Truskett, associate professor of chemical engineering at the university.      

The research by Ph.D. students Gaurav Goel, William Krekelberg and Truskett at the university along with Dr. Jeffrey Errington of the State University of New York at Buffalo, appears in the March 21 issue of the journal Physical Review Letters.

Civic planners and schoolteachers have long appreciated that the motion of cars on highways or children through hallways proceeds smoothly if lanes of traffic are formed.  Truskett's research team found that a similar principle applies for the motion of fluid particles in narrow channels. Specifically, their computer simulations reveal that fluid particles move past one another more easily if they first form "layers" aligned with the boundaries of the channels.

The team has also introduced a way to systematically determine which types of channel boundaries will promote or frustrate the formation of the layers necessary for faster particle transport. 

If layering leads to faster particle dynamics, it is natural to ask why bulk fluids adopt a more disordered structure with no layering, said Truskett. 

“The reason:  thermodynamics determines the structure of a fluid, not dynamics - and thermodynamics favors a disordered state for bulk fluids because it lowers the system's free energy,” he said.

The Truskett team determined that confining a fluid to small length scales allowed them to tune the thermodynamically-favored state to coincide with one that has layering and fast particle dynamics. 

Truskett's latest research is funded by grants from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the National Science Foundation.  The Texas Advanced Computing Center and the University at Buffalo Center for Computational Research provided computational resources for this study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas at Austin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Texas at Austin. "Chemical Engineers Discover New Way To Control Particle Motion." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080317150237.htm>.
University of Texas at Austin. (2008, March 20). Chemical Engineers Discover New Way To Control Particle Motion. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080317150237.htm
University of Texas at Austin. "Chemical Engineers Discover New Way To Control Particle Motion." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080317150237.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 15, 2014) — New York officials unveil subway tunnels that were refurbished after Superstorm Sandy. Nathan Frandino reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — U.S. firms worry they’re falling behind in the marketplace as the FAA considers how to regulate commercial drones. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Gun Innovators Fear Backlash From Gun Rights Advocates

Smart Gun Innovators Fear Backlash From Gun Rights Advocates

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — Winners of a contest for smart gun design are asking not to be named after others in the industry received threats for marketing similar products. Video provided by Newsy
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