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 In this, it resembled the behavior of the surface of water when an object is withdrawn from it. But unlike water, the salt meniscus didn't break from its own weight as the tip was withdrawn.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:4/26/2016)... India and LONDON ... Infosys Finacle, part of EdgeVerve Systems, a product ... and Onegini today announced a partnership to integrate ... solutions.      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151104/283829LOGO ... to provide their customers enhanced security to access ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... , April 15, 2016 ... the,  "Global Gait Biometrics Market 2016-2020,"  report to ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160330/349511LOGO ) , ,The global gait biometrics ... of 13.98% during the period 2016-2020. ... angles, which can be used to compute factors ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... March 31, 2016  Genomics firm Nabsys has completed ... Barrett Bready , M.D., who returned to the ... original technical leadership team, including Chief Technology Officer, ... Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice President of Software and ... company. Dr. Bready served as CEO of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... The Children’s Tumor Foundation announced its annual ... to grow on nerves throughout the body. It affects 1 in 3,000 people of ... held during the month of May, as well as online activities, Neurofibromatosis Awareness Month ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... PBI-Gordon Corporation is pleased to announce ... , Doug began his career at PBI-Gordon in February 1988, after finishing his masters ... of roles, ranging from customer service to national product manager, to helping develop, name ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... 2016 The report "Biochips ... Gene Expression) Lab-on-a-chip (IVD & POC, Proteomics), ... Centers), Fabrication Technology (Microarrays, Microfluidics) - Forecast ... is expected to reach USD 17.75 Billion ... 2015, growing at a CAGR of 18.4% ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... 03, 2016 , ... In a list published by the Boston Business Journal, ... private companies; a small percentage of the state's 615,000+ small businesses. The list examined ... in revenue from 2012 to 2015. , As this award comes on ...
Breaking Biology Technology: