Dentists’ tool boost as engineers get to root of tiny bubbles

Dental hygiene equipment used to remove plaque may benefit from the physics used to create so-called nanobubbles, according to scientists. The discoveries may potentially help with the creation of new technologies that use the energy produced when bubbles burst, such as cancer-targeting devices. To better understand how nanobubbles, which are hundreds of times smaller than the size of a pinhead, develop, engineers at Edinburgh University used supercomputer modeling. Individual water molecules vibrated at a million times the speed of a hummingbird’s wings as part of the team’s simulations.

Nanobubbles may develop when water vibrates to a point where it becomes vapour, which is known as cavitation, or when water pressure decreases till the liquid becomes vapour. It was published in Nano Letters, a publication funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Students and faculty used EPCC’s high-performance computing facility, ARCHER UK National Supercomputing Service (UK), to do their computations. University of Edinburgh School of Engineering professor Saikat Datta said: “This new knowledge helps us understand how vibrations at the atomic scale may be used to create nanobubbles at larger scales. This study offers a wide range of potential applications in the future and will aid scientists in developing new experiments to learn more about the genesis of nanobubbles.”

Reference : University of Edinburgh. (2021, February 25). Dentists’ tool boost as engineers get to root of tiny bubbles. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 4, 2021 from

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