This computer-generated series of images illustrates a surprising discovery about the formation of drops from nozzles such as those in inkjet printers. A team led by researchers at Purdue University and the University of Chicago has shown that the drops form differently when the nozzle is immersed into sticky liquids, such as honey or silicone oil, which have greater viscosity than the drop. As the drop forms, so does a long, thin threadlike attachment. If the drop is made of certain chemicals, this thin thread can be quickly solidified by exposing it, for example, to "photo-polymerizing" light. The method might be used to create fibers, wires and particles only a few nanometers wide, which could have numerous applications, from composite materials to a new class of electronics and pharmaceutical products. (Ron Suryo and Osman Basaran/Purdue University School of Chemical Engineering)
A research team led by engineers at Purdue University and physicists at the University of Chicago has made a discovery about the formation of drops that could lead to new methods for making threads, wires and particles only a few nanometers wide.
Such nano-threads, wires and particles could, in turn, have numerous applications, including new kinds of composite materials, electronic circuits and pharmaceutical products, said Osman Basaran, a professor in Purdue’s School of Chemical Engineering.
The researchers made the discovery while studying how liquid drops and gas bubbles are formed by nozzles, such as those in inkjet printers. A widely accepted universal rule holds that, no matter what the liquid or gas is made of, drops and bubbles always break away from a nozzle the same way: As the drop is forming, it is attached to the nozzle by a thin segment of liquid or gas. This connecting segment grows progressively thinner, and as its width gets closer and closer to zero it breaks at a single point and the drop falls away from the nozzle.
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