Shaping water

UBC researchers create new class of soft materialsAn example of shaping water in oil. The structure is composed of a mixture of water and graphene oxide nanosheets 3D-printed in silicone oil.

Engineering researchers at the University of British Columbia have found a simple way to create soft structures of various shapes and sizes using oil and water.

The new technique, which was recently described in the journal Small, may help usher in the next generation of ultra-light and flexible electronics, as well as protective shields against electromagnetic radiation.

“Having the ability to shape water into any structure you want would open up a new world of technological possibilities,” says lead study author Dr. Milad Kamkar, an affiliate of the Rojas Research Group at the UBC BioProducts Institute. “Our method, which makes it possible to assemble nano-sized materials at the interface of oil and water, brings us another step closer to achieving this goal.”

Called “liquid streaming”, the technique developed by the UBC team uses a 3D printer to deposit a mixture of water and graphene oxide in oil. This forms tiny tubules that can then be assembled into different shapes ranging from micrometres to centimetres in size. The result is a new class of soft materials — one that can be dried into solid forms for use in a variety of applications.

To read the full story, please visit the UBC Applied Science announcement.

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