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Posted: Jan 22, 2015
A simple route to prepare stable liquid marbles
(Nanowerk News) UPV/EHU researcher Ana Margarida Fernandes is working on the development of "liquid marbles", also known as dry water. The aim of the research is to better understand the behaviour of this compound, in order to make advances in the use of cheaper materials, such as polystyrene; to date, much more expensive silicon nanoparticles have been employed. The prestigious Polymer scientific journal has recently published research work by Ms. Fernandes ("Simple route to prepare stable liquid marbles using poly(ionic liquid)s").
Liquid marbles are made up of particles that contain a microscopic drop of water wrapped in an envelope made up of polymers. Various chemical elements can be dissolved in this water and their corresponding properties stored therein. In the future liquid marbles could have great uses, given their capability for lowering costs and for enhancing the manufacture of new cosmetic, agricultural and gastronomic products.
“Thanks to liquid marbles, the water can be manipulated the as if it were solid, and thus, for example, create irrigation systems where water is released little by little. They have, moreover, the property of absorbing and retaining up to three times more carbon dioxide (the presence in the atmosphere of which contributes to the greenhouse gas effect); and at the same time enables developing various cosmetic applications for cutaneous treatment, such as skin moisteners, etc. In fact, in the area of care products, there are a number of multinationals in the world of cosmetics that have already marketed products inspired in this compound”, revealed Ms. Fernandes.
The manufacture of liquid marbles has involved an enormous economic and logistical effort, but thanks to research work such as this one by the UPV/EHU researcher, such marbles can be made “in a very simple manner”. “Anybody can make them, without the need for a sophisticated laboratory. Simplifying this process, one only needs a kind of large blender and polystyrene”, explained Ms. Fernandes.
Ms. Fernandes’s research is basic, but with great potential in diverse applications. “Patents can a rise from research like this, for example, liquid marbles made from some food-compatible polymer”, she pointed out.