Scientists from Northwestern University in the United States have created miniature versions of Saturn, complete with rings, by electrifying tiny droplets of fluids.
When a drop of electrically conductive liquid is exposed to an electric field, the droplet responds by forming two electrically charged poles. In the previous research it was found that these poles can get pulled towards the sources of the electric field, taking on cone shapes. If the pull is strong enough, the tips of the cones can spray jets of droplets. This effect is known as electrospraying.
In the latest experiments, researchers explored the outcomes seen after drops of liquid is submerged in more electrically conductive fluids-specifically, drops of silicone oil suspended in castor oil. When an electric field is applied to drop of silicone oil, it was observed that drop flattens and emits rings of fluid from its equator that break up into droplets.
If an electric field is strong enough, the equators of these squashed drops emit concentric rings of droplets, making the drops look like miniature versions of Saturn. In these experiments, drops of silicone oil about 1 millimetre wide generated droplets that were about 100 times smaller.
Significance of Research
The future advance research may pave the way for generating microscopic and uniform particles and capsules which are used in products such as drugs, inks, cosmetics and paints. It will also explore new materials that can be used to produce “ring of particles” effect.