A mesmerizing new video shows scientists crafting dazzling, slinky-like sculptures made completely out of liquid — and the liquid structures can hold their shape for months.
Researchers created the ghostly-looking sculptures by manipulating the properties of water and oil. Anyone who has ever tried to make salad dressing knows oil and water normally don’t mix; their molecules are simply more attracted to their own kind than to each other — unless, of course, you use a substance like mustard that can bring the sides together.
When you do that, you can make oil and water stick together in solution, said Joe Forth, a researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. “But you can’t make complex structures. In fact, you can only ever make a sphere.”
Forth and his team have created structures far more interesting than spheres that suggest a stunning new way to think of technology. “You can change their shape basically as much as you want as long as you do it gently enough,” Forth told Live Science.