Spiky Particles Puncture Solubility Limits

Putting microscopic points on materials overcomes their hydrophobic or hydrophilic nature

Chemical Processing Staff
hedgehog particles mn

A process that modifies hydrophobic particles to disperse easily in water and hydrophilic particles to dissolve in oil could lead to more environmentally friendly paints and other oil-based applications, says a team of researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich. The technique is very versatile and controllable, they add. The process creates microscopic spikes that make the particles repel each other more and attract each other less. The spikes also dramatically reduce the particles’ surface area, helping them to diffuse more easily. “We thought we’d made a mistake,” says Nicholas Kotov, a professor of chemical engineering at the university. “We…

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