Playing with Soap Bubbles

Wouldn't it be cool to earn your living by playing with soap bubbles? Well, that's what Paul Steen does. Paul Steen, a professor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Cornell University studies the self assembly of thins films by surface tension. One of his latest project is an electrical switch made of water. By using electricity to create and release an adhesive bond between a droplet of water and a flat plate, Steen demonstrates the power of surface tension. A palm beetle can cling to a leaf with a strength equal to 100 times its body weight - which would be equivalent of Steen supporting six or seven cars with a bead of spit!

The device has no solid moving parts, turns on and off in under a second, runs on less than five volts and can be used either by itself or in larger arrays. If engineered down to the nanometer scale, an array of switches could allow Steen to walk across the ceiling of his office, focus the lens of a cell phone camera, or act as a microscopic, energy-efficient lab-on-a-chip.

Source: Paul Steen's latest invention makes a walk on the ceiling not so far-fetched

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