These may look like the tubes found by deep-sea hydrothermal vents, but these one-inch-tall iron oxide tubes were grown in the laboratory.
An accidental discovery may provide insights into the creation of tubular structures such as those found in caves and at hydrothermal vents.
While doing some electroplating work for a class project, David Stone stumbled upon a way to grow tiny tubes that look like the cave formations known as soda straws. At the time, Stone, a former sculptor and foundry worker, had just returned to school.
"I botched the experiment. I can still remember being in my carport, picking up the cathode and thinking, ’Oh shoot,’" he said. "And as I held it up to my head to throw it into the garbage, I noticed tubes growing on it. I thought, ’Hmm, tubes.’"
Mari N. Jensen | EurekAlert!
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