Thursday, 17 December 2009

LA's big lake of colloids

The New York Times is running a piece about tap water and the regulation thereof called "That Tap Water Is Legal but May Be Unhealthy". One particular contaminant becomes dangerous on exposure to sunlight so, at a lake in Los Angeles, they've tipped 400,000 plastic balls into the lake to block out the sunlight.

Perhaps this shows I've been in stat-mech too long. All I could think about upon seeing this picture was - "cool, a massive 2D elastic disc simulation!".

It's quite interesting where the crystal structure is interrupted - each one of those interfaces costs a lot of free energy. You can also see it's not truly 2D as along certain stress lines the particles have gone up and over to reduce the energy.

I wonder if it's in equilibrium or whether it'll age with time...

This is what science can do to you :-s

Don't know what fair use would be for stealing this photo but hopefully if I link to the NYT enough they won't mind - go and click on one of their ads of something...

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