Nav: Home

New periodic table of droplets could help solve crimes

February 25, 2019

ITHACA, N.Y. - Liquid droplets assume complex shapes and behave in different ways, each with a distinct resonance - like a drum head or a violin string - depending on the intricate interrelationship of the liquid, the solid it lands on and the gas surrounding it.

Droplets' movements have implications for everything from manufacturing silicon chips to measuring bodily fluids, but until now there was no way of classifying their motion.

A team led by Paul Steen, professor of engineering at Cornell University, has created a periodic table of droplet motions, inspired in part by parallels between the symmetries of atomic orbitals, which determine elements' positions on the classic periodic table, and the energies that determine droplet shapes.

"The question was, can we put these in some sort of organization that allows us to make a little more sense out of them?" said Steen, lead author of "Droplet Motions Fill a Periodic Table," which published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"The ordering is much like the periodic table of chemical elements," he said. "We go from higher energy to lower energy, left to right, top to bottom."

They also saw that the droplet motions could be classified by their distinctive shape symmetries. For example, droplets that form a star-like shape with five points would all be in one group.

"We call them motion-elements," said Steen, in a nod to the classic periodic table. Each motion element in the new table - which could conceivably have an infinite number of entries, depending on several variables - classifies a single mode of a droplet's motion. "You can use combinations of these to understand motion-molecules."

In the study, Steen's team discovered the first 35 predicted motion elements for water droplets vibrated on a surface with an angle of contact of about 60 degrees.

Potential applications for this periodic table, which could help researchers understand where a droplet comes from, could include crime-scene forensics, Steen said. Analysts could apply the table's classifications to blood and the applicable surface to identify the energies involved, and then better infer what might have caused certain spatter patterns.

"Once you recognize what a particular motion can be decomposed into, it tells you more about where it originated," he said.
-end-
The research was partly supported by the National Science Foundation.

Cornell University has dedicated television and audio studios available for media interviews supporting full HD, ISDN and web-based platforms.

Cornell University

Related Engineering Articles:

Engineering a new cancer detection tool
E. coli may have potentially harmful effects but scientists in Australia have discovered this bacterium produces a toxin which binds to an unusual sugar that is part of carbohydrate structures present on cells not usually produced by healthy cells.
Engineering heart valves for the many
The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the University of Zurich announced today a cross-institutional team effort to generate a functional heart valve replacement with the capacity for repair, regeneration, and growth.
Geosciences-inspired engineering
The Mackenzie Dike Swarm and the roughly 120 other known giant dike swarms located across the planet may also provide useful information about efficient extraction of oil and natural gas in today's modern world.
Engineering success
Academically strong, low-income would-be engineers get the boost they need to complete their undergraduate degrees.
HKU Engineering Professor Ron Hui named a Fellow by the UK Royal Academy of Engineering
Professor Ron Hui, Chair Professor of Power Electronics and Philip Wong Wilson Wong Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Hong Kong, has been named a Fellow by the Royal Academy of Engineering, UK, one of the most prestigious national academies.
Engineering a better biofuel
The often-maligned E. coli bacteria has powerhouse potential: in the lab, it has the ability to crank out fuels, pharmaceuticals and other useful products at a rapid rate.
Pascali honored for contributions to engineering education
Raresh Pascali, instructional associate professor in the Mechanical Engineering Technology Program at the University of Houston, has been named the 2016 recipient of the Ross Kastor Educator Award.
Scaling up tissue engineering
A team at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and the Harvard John A.
Engineering material magic
University of Utah engineers have discovered a new kind of 2-D semiconducting material for electronics that opens the door for much speedier computers and smartphones that also consume a lot less power.
Engineering academic elected a Fellow of the IEEE
A University of Bristol academic has been elected a Fellow of the world's largest and most prestigious professional association for the advancement of technology.

Related Engineering Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Setbacks
Failure can feel lonely and final. But can we learn from failure, even reframe it, to feel more like a temporary setback? This hour, TED speakers on changing a crushing defeat into a stepping stone. Guests include entrepreneur Leticia Gasca, psychology professor Alison Ledgerwood, astronomer Phil Plait, former professional athlete Charly Haversat, and UPS training manager Jon Bowers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".