The Bijel in Real Life

Condensed Matter lunchtime seminar

The Bijel in Real Life

  • Event time: 1:00pm
  • Event date: 18th February 2008
  • Speaker: Kathryn White (Formerly School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh)
  • Location: Room 2511,

Event details

The bijel - a particle-stabilised fluid-bicontinuous gel - was conceived of and simulated in this group several years ago. Resembling at first glance the interior of a sponge, the entire volume of the bijel is filled by two immiscible fluids, arranged in two independent, convoluted and intimately intertwined channel networks. The two fluid domains are separated by walls composed of a jammed monolayer of colloidal particles, and share a large interfacial area. The simulations showed that the bijel should be stable to high flowrates of the constituent fluids.

The principle strength of the bijel is thus that it can bring two immiscible and independently flowing solvents into intimate contact across a porous membrane. This makes the bijel a contender for a range of chemical and biochemical applications, including extractions, reactions and trace analysis.

In order for this to happen, however, the bijel first needs to exist. Eva Herzig made the first fully three-dimensional bijel less than two years ago; since then, we've learnt quite a lot about how to make it (and how not to). In this talk I'll run over some of the ways in which the bijel is and is not robust, and show some encouraging preliminary results on flowing solvents through it. A warning: the surface chemistry of the colloidal particles used to make the bijel turns out to be crucial. However, any mention of actual chemicals or their structures will quickly be followed by some diverting movies.

About Condensed Matter lunchtime seminars

This is a weekly series of informal talks given primarily by members of the soft condensed matter and statistical mechanics groups, but is also open to members of other groups and external visitors. The aim of the series is to promote discussion and learning of various topics at a level suitable to the broad background of the group. Everyone is welcome to attend..

Find out more about Condensed Matter lunchtime seminars.