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A new old invention
September 22, 2010 10:25 AM   Subscribe

It's been an oxymoronic chemical curiosity since 1968, but "Dry Water" is getting some buzz of late, mainly because of newly discovered applications. Like its ability to absorb gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. How long before molecular gastronomists figure out something clever to do with it?
posted by cross_impact (21 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
"There's nothing like it," said Ben Carter, Ph.D., a researcher for Cooper. "Hopefully, we may see dry water making waves in the future."

Sounds like a real....son of a beach.

(shades)

YEEEEAAAAAAAAAA
posted by jquinby at 10:30 AM on September 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


In addition, dry water has the ability to store liquids, and scientists hope to apply this to the storage of emulsions, which are mixtures of two or more unblendable liquids. Dry water could store these emulsions and make it safer for manufacturers to transport and store harmful liquids.

DRY BEER. SCIENTISTS: GET ON THIS.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 10:49 AM on September 22, 2010


No...you're an oxymornic chemical curiosity!

Sorry, I...I got nothin'.
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:51 AM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Okay, so anybody understand this in finer detail? Like how much of this stuff would it take to sequester a ton of carbon dioxide, and how would you get the gas in there?

In short, I guess, is this really a practical way to trap CO2 emissions or just some chemical curiosity?
posted by Naberius at 11:04 AM on September 22, 2010


How long before molecular gastronomists figure out something clever to do with it?

From the article:

But it remains dry because each powder particle contains a water droplet surrounded by modified silica nanoparticles -- the component of beach sand

So my guess is never. Exotic nanoparticles are typically fairly toxic.
posted by GuyZero at 11:09 AM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is this like freeze dried water? Comes in small packages for hiking and just add lake water at your destination.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:10 AM on September 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'd really rather the scientists took a break from creating alternative forms of water, actually.
posted by a young man in spats at 11:15 AM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would munch on a bag of Beer Flakes.
posted by adamdschneider at 11:20 AM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is this like freeze dried water? Comes in small packages for hiking and just add lake water at your destination.

wait, what?
posted by eugenen at 11:20 AM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was hoping this had something to do with dehydrated water...
posted by skynxnex at 11:51 AM on September 22, 2010


Insert Steven Wright joke here.
posted by ericbop at 11:56 AM on September 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


"I bought some powdered water, but I didn't know what to add."
posted by Ratio at 12:01 PM on September 22, 2010


Until I get told otherwise, I'm going to keep imagining that the way to turn it into regular water again is to just punch the powder really hard.
posted by invitapriore at 12:03 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


DRY BEER. SCIENTISTS: GET ON THIS.

Great, so beer gets sold in baggies, and when someone spills your bag, you snort up the spilled beer, instead of drinking it through a straw (assuming you were concerned about saving your beer in the first place).

Dry water is boring. Combustible ice is the new hot thing in clean energy. (Wait, how is it clean if "Potential decomposition of these hydrates may create a “runaway greenhouse effect” in the future"? Oh well, it's a fun party trick).
posted by filthy light thief at 12:03 PM on September 22, 2010


How long before molecular gastronomists figure out something clever to do with it?

From the article:

But it remains dry because each powder particle contains a water droplet surrounded by modified silica nanoparticles -- the component of beach sand

So my guess is never. Exotic nanoparticles are typically fairly toxic.


It's just SiO2, also known as quartz. Of course, 'powdered' likely means it's small enough to be a health issue for inhalation. But if you're going to try to do something gastrointestinal with it I would think twice, because silica doesn't like to dissolve. Unless your stomach is full of hydrofluoric acid.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 12:04 PM on September 22, 2010


Sounds interesting. But when it comes to its usefulness in storing CO2, it depends on how much energy it takes to produce, say, 1kg of the material, how much CO2 you can get into that 1kg, and how much energy it takes to put that CO2 into the 1kg of that material. Then, you compare how much CO2 is actually released by supplying that much energy. My guess would be that there is no net gain, but I'm a pessimist about CO2 capture and storage.

In any case, this also doesn't affect the inherent danger of storing CO2 (i.e. accidental massive release), or dwindling supplies of fossil fuels. I have heard of all sorts of novel ways of capturing and storing CO2, but they all require an energy input. If that energy input comes from fossil fuels, then you have bought yourself some extra time to keep using those fossil fuels. But if that energy comes from a renewable source then you have a bigger impact on CO2 emissions by just using the renewable energy directly, in place of the fossil fuel.
posted by molecicco at 12:06 PM on September 22, 2010


Wow, I really want to play with this. If it'll hold methane, can I aerate to a fine particulate cloud it and set it off like a grain silo explosion?

Not that I would, I'm just curious... for science.

Yeah, that's it.

Science.
posted by quin at 12:47 PM on September 22, 2010


I would munch on a bag of Beer Flakes.

That's beautiful. I can just see the vendors fling bags of beer flakes around ballparks.
posted by eriko at 1:04 PM on September 22, 2010


We need a term for the transformation that occurs from a probably quite reasonable paper on the gas adsorption characteristics of sillica coated water droplets to... 'Dry Water could be the answer to global warming!'. It always seems that its either a new source of limitless energy or a cure for cancer.
posted by Long Way To Go at 3:11 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


So my guess is never. Exotic nanoparticles are typically fairly toxic.

What? I know there are some concerns about various things but calling them "typically fairly" toxic seems like a bit of a stretch.
posted by delmoi at 9:24 PM on September 22, 2010


Every time I hear about new nano-sized particles of whatever it seems that their particle size makes them far more reactive than the regular material. Plus the main hazard of nano-silica is inhalation per six-or-six-thirty's comment which is kind of a generic hazard for stuff of that particle size. Anyway, nanoparticulate TiO2 seems to be more hazardous than regular TiO2 althogh I'm too lzy to look past that.

But yes, it's a crazy blanket statement.
posted by GuyZero at 10:32 PM on September 22, 2010


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