Navigation Links
Salt block unexpectedly stretches in Sandia experiments
Date:6/24/2009

To stretch a supply of salt generally means using it sparingly.

But researchers from Sandia National Laboratories and the University of Pittsburgh were startled when they found they had made the solid actually physically stretch.

"It's not supposed to do that," said Sandia principal investigator Jack Houston. "Unlike, say, gold, which is ductile and deforms under pressure, salt is brittle. Hit it with a hammer, it shatters like glass."

That a block of salt can stretch rather than remain inert might affect world desalination efforts, which involve choosing particular sizes of nanometer-diameter pores to strain salts from brackish water. Understanding unexpected salt deformations also may lead to better understanding of sea salt aerosols, implicated in problems as broad as cloud nucleation, smog formation, ozone destruction and asthma triggers, the researchers write in their paper published in the May Nanoletters.

The serendipitous discovery came about as researchers were examining the mechanical properties of salt in the absence of water. They found unexpectedly that the brittle substance appeared malleable enough to distort over surprisingly long distances by clinging to a special microscope's nanometer-sized tip as it left the surface of the salt.

More intense examination showed that surface salt molecules formed a kind of bubble a ductile meniscus with the exploratory tip as it withdrew from penetrating the cube. In this, it resembled the behavior of the surface of water when an object is withdrawn from it. But unlike water, the salt meniscus didn't break from its own weight as the tip was withdrawn. Instead it followed the tip along, slip-sliding away (so to speak) as it thinned and elongated from 580 nanometers (nm) to 2,191 nm in shapes that resembled nanowires.

A possible explanation for salt molecules peeling off the salt block, said Houston, is that "surface molecules don't have buddies." That is, because there's no atomic lattice above them, they're more mobile than the internal body of salt molecules forming the salt block.

Salt showing signs of surface mobility at room temperatures was "totally surprising," said Houston, who had initially intended to study more conventionally interesting characteristics of the one-fourth-inch square, one-eighth-inch-long salt block.


'/>"/>

Contact: Neal Singer
nsinger@sandia.gov
505-845-7078
DOE/Sandia National Laboratories
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Small molecules might block mutant protein production in Huntingtons disease
2. A longer lasting tumor blocker
3. Caltech scientists show why anti-HIV antibodies are ineffective at blocking infection
4. TGen researchers discover possible way to block the spread of deadly brain tumors
5. Long-lasting nerve block could change pain management
6. Small molecules block cancer gene
7. Natural brain substance blocks weight gain in mice, UT Southwestern researchers discover
8. 2 beta blockers found to also protect heart tissue
9. New beta-blocker to offer hope to heart and lung sufferers
10. Infection blocks lungs protective response against tobacco smoke
11. Researchers block damage to fetal brain following maternal alcohol consumption
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Salt block unexpectedly stretches in Sandia experiments
(Date:3/24/2017)... -- The Controller General of Immigration from Maldives Mr. ... have received the prestigious international IAIR Award for the most innovative high ... ... Maldives Immigration Controller ... (small picture on the right) have received the IAIR award for the ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... DUBLIN , Mar. 23, 2017 Research ... Anti-Theft System Market Analysis & Trends - Industry Forecast to 2025" ... ... to grow at a CAGR of around 8.8% over the next ... This industry report analyzes the market estimates and forecasts for all ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 21, 2017 Vigilant ... company serving law enforcement agencies, announced today the appointment ... as director of public safety business development. ... law enforcement experience, including a focus on the aviation ... his most recent position, Mr. Sheridan served as the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/22/2017)... King of Prussia, PA (PRWEB) , ... June ... ... bringing industry knowledge and superior results to clients throughout the biopharma and life ... the rapid changes the industry is seeing. Tunnell’s Kip Wolf will be speaking ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 22, 2017 , ... Charm Sciences, Inc. is pleased to ... was determined to be appropriate as a screening test at dairies and farms for ... EZ system, and the Charm EZ Lite system. These systems are a combination incubator ...
(Date:6/20/2017)... ... June 20, 2017 , ... HorizonScan is ... which pose the most likely threat to their products at the annual IFT ... , IFT's annual food expo attracts over 20,000 attendees representing food science professionals ...
(Date:6/20/2017)... Parsippany, NJ (PRWEB) , ... June 20, 2017 , ... ... OHAUS makes the transition from being a trusted supplier in the weighing industry, to ... including cell extractions, ELISA essays, enzyme reactions, immunoassays, hybridizations and more, allowing for ...
Breaking Biology Technology: