29-Aug-2013 - North Carolina State University

Destroying stable foams on demand

An international team of scientists has developed the first example of a stable, environmentally friendly foam that can be broken down on demand by any one of three external stimuli.

Foams are commonly applied in the clean-up of chemical spills, where they are sprayed over large areas to prevent evaporation of volatile or harmful organic materials. While this demands stability, the foam then needs to be broken down for transport and disposal. This is often accomplished by addition of an anti-foaming agent.

Researchers in France and the US have built a system upon the simple and green surfactant, 12-hydroxysteric acid, which is derived from a sustainable plant-based material and forms a stable foam that spontaneously collapses at elevated temperatures. The researchers added carbon black and carbonyl iron particles to further stabilise the foam and introduce two new mechanisms for its destruction, by exposure to UV light and application of a magnetic field.


Facts, background information, dossiers
More about North Carolina State University
More about Royal Society of Chemistry
  • News

    New coating is self-defence for seeds

    Scientists in Switzerland have developed a protective coating for seeds that poisons pests with cyanide when they bite into it. The coating is a system of two layers and only becomes toxic when the layers are mixed, eliminating the problem of environmental contamination that is associated w ... more

    Using bacteria to make electrodes

    Scientists in France have produced hematite using a bacterial pathway for use as an electrode material in Li-ion technologies. Currently, most commercial electrode materials for Li-ion technologies are prepared using the ceramic method, which requires long heating periods at high temperatur ... more

    Marine plant replacement for platinum in solar cells

    An international research team has shown that that the power conversion efficiency of sea tangle extract is comparable to platinum in solar cell electrodes. Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) are quickly becoming a widespread and affordable alternative to photovoltaic solar cells. The electr ... more

  • Videos

    Royal Society of Chemistry – About us

    With more than 51,000 members and an international publishing and knowledge business we are the UK’s professional body for chemical scientists, supporting and representing our members and bringing together chemical scientists from all over the world. more

    A career in toxicology

    Hear from RSC member Vicki Stone talk about her role as a Nanotoxicologist. more

    When Food met Pharma: Delivery Strategies for Nutraceuticals

    With growing prevalence of lifestyle-associated diseases, including obesity, Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease, there is an urgent need and demand to try to prevent the onset of these diseases within our growing population. Nutraceuticals, along with appropriate diet and exercise, ... more

  • Companies

    Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)

    The RSC is a leading international publisher of highly regarded journals and books in the chemical sciences. The RSC is also the professional body for chemists with a global membership of over 46,000. more