November 30, 2020

New pipe coating makes viscous fluids flow 10 times faster than water

New pipe coating makes viscous fluids flow 10 times faster than water

Physicists have found that when a special coating is applied to the inner surface of a pipe, viscous liquids in it begin to move faster than water.

Usually thick liquids such as honey orpetroleum products flow poorly on any surface, especially inside pipes. Therefore, pumping them requires pressure, which is associated with the risk of pipe rupture and additional energy consumption.

Researchers from Aalto University have found that a special hydrophobic coating can solve the problem of poor flow, which, after application creates tiny bumps on the surface. The space between them is filled with air, which forms a small gap between the inner wall of the pipe and its contents.

As a result, viscous liquids actually lie on an air cushion, and precisely because of their density they move up to 10 times faster than water under the influence of gravity.

Their discovery could be very beneficial in a number of industries, including oil refining, and various medical devices, the team said.

We also previously reported on another repellent coating that allows paper sheets to be turned into self-contained electronic controllers powered by the user's touch energy.

text: Ilya Bauer, photo and video: Aalto University