There’s a New Underwater Force, and Here’s What We Know so Far About It

There’s a team of scientists from the University of North Carolina and the Brown University which discovered a new phenomenon that creates a fluidic force that’s actually capable of moving and tying particles submerged in density-layered fluids.

This discovery comes with an alternative to the assumptions of before on how particles accumulate in lakes and oceans. This can lead to apps that can locate biological hotspots and which can clean up the environment. It could even help in sorting and packing.

It’s very important to know how many settles and aggregates exist under gravitation in fluid systems – lakes and oceans – because they can have an impact on the planet.

“Marine snow” is the shower of organic matter that’s continually falling from the upper waters to the deep ocean. This one is essential for the global food chain, and its accumulations from the briny deep represent the largest carbon sink of Earth. There is also the concern of microplastics swirling in the ocean.

The accumulation of ocean particle was thought to be the result of collisions and adhesion. But there’s a different phenomenon happening in the water column. The paper was published in Nature Communications, and the professors are Richard McLaughlin and Roberto Camassa, from the College of Arts & Sciences. In the research, NC-Chapel Hill graduate student Robert Hunt and Dan Harris also had an important role.

In this paper, the researchers wanted to demonstrate that the particles suspended in fluids of various densities show two previously undiscovered behaviors. The particles self-assembled without magnetic attraction, and without the propulsion devices, like beating flagella or cilia. Then, they clump together without the need for adhesive or any other kind of bonding forces. If the cluster is stronger, then the attractive force is also stronger.

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