As most of us learned in school, when you pour oil into water, the two liquids don’t mix. Instead, two phases form, with oil on top because it is less dense than water. Thus, oil is said to be hydrophobic (cross
hydraulicwhich means “water”, and phobicreferring to “phobia” or “aversion”).
Oil is a hydrophobic substance that does not mix with water. Photo: maialeon –
In a major scientific challenge, a device devised by Flinders University in Australia attempts to break down the concept of incompatible fluids. According to the scientists responsible, this could improve many future products, improve industrial processes, and even improve the food we eat.
Using highly advanced, fast fluid flow techniques applied in the so-called Vortex Fluid Flinders Device (VFD), the research team completed 10 years of study to find a way to use clean chemistry to solve the “mixture of immiscible organisms” puzzle.
This will have applications in a range of industries around the world, from food and nutraceutical processing to cosmetics and pharmaceutical distribution. Think of the purest and most potent fish oil capsules,” says Professor Colin Raston, lead author of an article published in
“Mixing immiscible liquids is of fundamental importance in process engineering, and often involves a lot of energy and waste inputs,” says Ruston. “Now we show how this process, using a common solvent and water, can avoid the use of another substance to control reactions in immiscible liquids, making them cleaner and greener,” concludes the professor of clean technology.
Research co-author Matt Jellicoe, of the Flinders Institute for Science and Technology, says at the nanoscale.
Co-author Aghil Igder, from the same institution, adds: “We have conducted over 100,000 experiments to determine how fluids mix and their flow behaviors in very small dimensions.”
Additionally, the team can use a VFD machine on experimental biodegradable polymers to begin making organic materials and clean technologies widely available to serve a range of industries.
Recently, VFD has been used in various experiments to produce high quality pharmacological materials such as peptides, fish oil, better food products and many other green chemical processes that can now be replicated in a miniature version of the developed device.
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