Self-forming envelope holds fluids

Zapped with a little electricity, certain plastic-laced water molecules can pop into a lasting football shape

By Beth Mole, 16:30 PM October 30, 2013

Football-shaped droplets of water can hold their distorted shape for weeks when surrounded by a thin shell made from tiny plastic particles. How tiny? Each of these so-called nanoparticles starts out only about a billionth of a meter in diameter.

Thomas Russell’s team at the University of Massachusetts Amherst plunged water droplets loaded with the nanoparticles into a slimy solution. It consisted of oil mixed with a silicone polymer. (Polymers are long-chain molecules made by stringing togeth...

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