by Brooks Hays
Washington (UPI) Aug 28, 2017
Is any cliche safe? New research suggests oil and water can combine when conditions are just right.
When oil and water are mixed under extreme pressure, oil molecules were absorbed into the solution. Researchers were able to mix water and methane inside small containers subjected to the amount pressure present on the deep ocean floor.
Methane is often used in experiments as a standing for substances with hydrophobic -- or water-repelling -- molecules, like oil.
The latest experiments -- detailed this week in the journal Science Advances -- can help scientists understand how chemicals interact under extreme conditions, like those found deep inside the Earth or distant planets.
To achieve extreme pressure levels, researchers squeezed molecules between the anvil points of two diamonds. Using the technique, scientists achieved pressure levels as great as 20,000 Bars, 20 times greater than the pressure on the floor of the Mariana's Trench.
Researchers found water molecules stay the same size under extreme pressure. Methane molecules became much smaller, allowing them to be absorbed.
"These exciting findings shed light on how water-repelling substances behave under high pressures, such as those found at the ocean floor or inside planets," John Loveday, a researcher at the University of Edinburgh, said in a news release. "This could have a huge range of applications, from replacing expensive and environmentally hazardous industrial solvents to modelling planetary bodies like Saturn's largest moon, Titan."
Washington DC (SPX) Aug 28, 2017
At just the right size, carbon nanotubes can filter water with better efficiency than biological proteins, a new study reveals. The results could pave the way to new water filtration systems, at a time when demands for fresh water pose a global threat to sustainable development. A class of biological proteins, called aquaporins, is able to effectively filter water, yet scientists have not ... read more
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