NonStick Drops

By Fenella Saunders
Nov 1, 2001 6:00 AMNov 12, 2019 5:53 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

NonStick drops Physicists Pascale Aussillous and David Quéré of the Collège de France in Paris have invented the ultimate oxymoron: dry water. The French researchers mixed water with water-repellent pollen grains. When dropped on a hard surface, the mix forms spherical drops with a rubbery surface. Surface tension holds the grains so tightly to the liquid that they do not rub off. As a result, these "liquid marbles" roll down an inclined surface instead of skidding like ordinary water. As they hit a maximum speed of around two miles an hour, the marbles flatten into a doughnut or peanut shape. Liquid marbles move freely on any surface--unlike water droplets, which stick as they go--so Quéré thinks they could significantly improve the operation of lab-on-a-chip devices, which test for useful new compounds by moving around tiny amounts of liquid.

Photograph courtesy of David Quéré and Pascale Aussillous/Collège de France.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.