Friday, November 9, 2012

Another Interesting Property of Water

Water is a pretty fantastic material when you stop to think about it.  Most of you know that it has some rather peculiar properties that other materials don't have - most notably that it expands just before freezing while just about everything else contracts as it cools.  Well as it turns out, it also can conduct electricity in an odd manner, too - under the right circumstances.

The link below takes you to the NewScientist TV website for a short (54 seconds) video of what I'm talking about.  Suspended in oil, a water drop is charged by a positively charged electrode.  It then is attracted to the negatively charged water drop just below it.  Normally it would just assimilate into the larger droplet and we'd be done.  But in this experiment, the electrode produces an electric field between itself and the negatively charged water drop below, that instead of assimilating, the smaller, positively charged drop "kisses" the larger, negatively charged drop - allowing the transfer of negatively charged ions to the positive drop and positive ions to the negative drop - and the smaller drop appears to bounce off the larger drop.  With the small drop now negatively charged, it is attracted again to the positive electrode and the pattern repeats itself. 

The suggestion is that this understanding might one day aid oil companies in separating water from oil in a more efficient way.  I don't know, but I'd be a little leery of putting too much electricity into a sizable pool of oil you've just pumped.  Anyway, take a look at this NewScienceTV video if I've confused you completely. 

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