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 October 21, 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 October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) If you've ever watched "Back to the Future Part II" and wanted to get your hands on a hoverboard, well, you might soon be in luck. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Researchers in South Korea are developing a robotic pilot that could potentially replace humans in the cockpit. Unlike drones and autopilot programs which are configured for specific aircraft, the robots' humanoid design will allow it to fly any type of plane with no additional sensors. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) British scientists have developed a prototype graphene paint that can make coatings which are resistant to liquids, gases, and chemicals. The team says the paint could have a variety of uses, from stopping ships rusting to keeping food fresher for longer. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. 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