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Nanolayer between polymer-containing liquid and pipe visualized for first time
© Dhita Adiati/EyeEm/Getty
An ultrathin layer that causes polymer-containing liquids to flow faster than expected in pipes has been directly observed for the first time.
Almost a century ago, scientists discovered that liquids containing small amounts of large-molecule polymers flow through pipes faster than expected. This phenomenon has been explained by the formation of a very thin layer between the pipe and the liquid. But this layer, which has a lower polymer concentration than the rest of the liquid, is so thin that no-one had been able to image it until now.
Now, three researchers from the Institute for Basic Science in Korea have used a super-resolution microscopy technique to image this layer in microchannels. From their measurements, they could determine the layer’s composition and thickness — typically a few hundred nanometres.
This advance will help scientists better understand how fluids behave under turbulent conditions and in nanofluidic devices.
- PNAS 116, 16256–16261 (2019). doi: 10.1073/pnas.1900623116
|Center for Soft and Living Matter, IBS, South Korea||1|