A new study by researchers from the University of Bristol and the University of Paris-Saclay, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests they have found a new material: a non-stick gel. A gel is a colloidal particle or polymer polymer in an sol or solution that is connected to each other under certain conditions to form a spatial mesh structure. But the researchers found that if the particles were liquid crystals, the interconnected mesh structure particles would not stick together.
The researchers say gels are a commonly used material in everyday life, from cosmetics to food and even in biological tissues. However, our understanding of sol gels lags far behind their use.
Dr Jeroen van Dujjnevelt, from Bristol, and Claudia Ferrero-Cordova of the University of Saclay in Paris found that In fact, colloidal particles do not need to stick together to form a gel.
This new material, “non-stick gels”, is formed when the colloid becomes a liquid crystal. Liquid crystal is the basis of display technology, when the composition of the molecules in one direction and still remain liquid, the formation of liquid crystal.
Here, colloidal particles made from sea foam clay are not molecules, preferred in one direction, forming a highly viscous mesh like a traditional gel, but do not require the attraction between the particles to connect them together. These particles form a microscopic mesh, which is structured a bit like a bird’s nest.
The researchers expect their findings to help develop new gel formulations, improve mechanical performance and extend shelf life, which is a major limitation of many of today’s products.