The Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science (KRISS) announced on Dec. 1 that a research team led by Dr. Choo Min-chul at KRISS has successfully developed a tech to disperse oil at nanoparticle size into water at room temperature.
To mix water and oil, it is important to first make nanoscale oil particles. Otherwise, oil particles stick together. Hence, they are easily separated with water in a short period of time.
The research team has succeeded in dispersing oil particles with a focused ultrasound (FUS) device. The device, which was made using a PZT cylinder, can condense energy in the middle of a cylinder by shooting a 500kHz frequency into the water and oil solution.
The device disperses oil particles in the water at such a small size by maximizing the cavitation, where pressure and high temperature occur owing to ultrasound. Since the device is designed to circulate in the solution, it can also evenly dissolve the particles. The process can be carried out on a large scale and automatically.
The team mixed both Cetiol oil and olive oil with distilled water using this device, without adding surfactants. They found that the mixture was dispersed as a nanoscale emulsion type after six months.
The newly-developed method is expected to be used in diverse areas to make surfactant-free eco-friendly cosmetics, semiconductors, paint, ink, pharmaceutical products, beverages, and medicinal transmitters.
Dr. Choo said, “Our technology is the only one that can mix water and oil at room temperature without using surfactants,” adding, “The method can be utilized in not only body-friendly cosmetics but also drugs or food. So, our achievement can exert a huge impact on the industry and society in general.”