The droplets that come from a molecular "nano-tap" behave very differently from those of a familiar tap 1 million times larger – they discovered researchers of the University of Warwick. This is a potentially crucial step for a series of emerging nanotechnologies, such as the production of nanometer-sized drug particles, lab-on-chip devices for on-site diagnostics, and 3D printers capable of nanoscale resolution.
Molecular simulations of liquid jets, similar to a jet of water escaping from a nano-tap, were used by researchers at the University of Warwick to probe the nanoscale production of droplets. The reduction in scale of the domestic jet is equivalent to that of Big Ben which is reduced to the size of a human hair!
The breaking of the jets has a classical theory, devised by Rayleigh and Plateau in the 1
This theory predicts that the droplets are easier to produce on a nanometer scale than the domestic tap, with nano-waves acting to burst the jets that would be classically stable.
Prof. Duncan Lockerby of the School of Engineering at the University of Warwick comments:
"Our research concerns the development of new knowledge for emerging nanotechnologies, using simulation for design techniques and this research exemplifies this effort with potential applications in the manufacturing and healthcare sectors. "
Dr. James Sprittles of the Mathematics Institute of the University of Warwick comments:
"It was wonderful to work on a problem whose classic solution I teach third-year undergraduates and develop a new updated theory for nanoscale application. " The document" Revisit the instability of Rayleigh's plateau for the nanoscale "was published in Open Access as a rapid communication in the prestigious Journal of Fluid Mechanics . It is also featured on the front cover of the Volume 861 and is currently the 4th most read article.
A new model describing the deformation and breakage of droplets could help improve printing and nano-scale spraying
Chengxi Zhao et al, Revisiting the instability of Rayleigh-Plateau for the nanoscale, Journal of Fluid Mechanics (2019). DOI: 10.1017 / jfm.2018.950