john simpson

Chemical coarsening: the study of big things

Blog Post created by john simpson on Nov 5, 2010

Taken from Science Daily
"Chemical Coarsening: How the Big Get  Bigger"



Patricia Thiel of Iowa State University and the Ames  Laboratory put a box of tissues to the right, a stack of coasters to the middle  and a trinket box to the left. "Nature," she said of her table-top illustration,  "doesn't want lots of little things." So Thiel grabbed the smaller things and  slid them into a single pile next to the bigger tissue box. "Nature wants one  big thing all together, like this." It describes a process called coarsening.  That's when "a group of objects of different sizes transforms into fewer objects  with larger average size, such that 'the big get bigger,'" says the paper.  Examples of the process include the geologic formation of gemstones, the  degradation of pharmaceutical suspensions and the manufacture of structural  steels. Thiel and Evans were invited to write the paper after Thiel delivered a  talk at an American Chemical Society meeting about their  studies of coarsening, an emerging field in surface chemistry.