Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Physicists develop potent packing process

Date:
February 28, 2011
Source:
New York University
Summary:
Physicists have developed a method for packing microscopic spheres that could lead to improvements in commercial products ranging from pharmaceutical lotions to ice cream.

New York University physicists have developed a method for packing microscopic spheres that could lead to improvements in commercial products ranging from pharmaceutical lotions to ice cream. Their work, which relies on an innovative application of statistical mechanics, appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study aimed to manipulate the properties of emulsions, which are a mixture of two or more immiscible liquids. The NYU researchers examined droplets of oil in water, which form the basis of a range of consumer products, including butter, ice cream, and milk.

The research was conducted in the laboratory of Jasna Brujić, an assistant professor in NYU's Department of Physics and part of its Center for Soft Matter Research.

Previously, her laboratory determined how spheres pack. These earlier findings showed how this process depends on the relative sphere sizes. In the PNAS study, Brujić and her research team sought to create a method to manipulate further how particles pack.

To do so, the researchers relied on a physical property known as "depletion attraction," a force that causes big particles to stick together by the pressure from the surrounding small ones.

Previous research has employed this process of attraction to create particulate gels, but these studies have tended to rely on thermally activated particles -- below one micron in size -- that result in complex structures known as fractals that look similar on all length scales.

In the PNAS study, the researchers used larger particles, which are not sensitive to room temperature and therefore pack under gravity alone.

To bring about depletion attraction, they added tiny polymers to the larger particles suspended in water. In essence, they used the smaller polymers to force together the larger spheres. In order to regulate the nature of this packing -- how tightly or loosely the larger particles fit together -- the researchers developed a statistical model that determines the fluctuations in the local properties of the packing.

"What we discovered is that you can control the connectivity of the particles -- how they stick together and their properties -- by manipulating the extent of the attraction," explained Brujić.

As a result of the discovery, the researchers have developed a method for potentially creating a range of materials -- from loose to dense -- based on the packing of their component parts.

The study's other authors were Ivane Jorjadze, a graduate student, and Lea-Laetitia Pontani, a postdoctoral research scientist, both from NYU's Department of Physics and the Center for Soft Matter Research, as well as Katherine Newhall, a doctoral student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by New York University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ivane Jorjadze, Lea-Laetitia Pontani, Katherine A. Newhall, and Jasna Brujić. Attractive emulsion droplets probe the phase diagram of jammed granular matter. PNAS, February 28, 2011 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1017716108

Cite This Page:

New York University. "Physicists develop potent packing process." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110228151750.htm>.
New York University. (2011, February 28). Physicists develop potent packing process. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110228151750.htm
New York University. "Physicists develop potent packing process." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110228151750.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