Scientists levitate water using sound

Scientists levitate water using sound


Scientists levitate water, but unlike Harry Potter no wands are needed. Instead, scientists used sound waves to levitate droplets of water.

How does it work?

Scientists used an acoustic levitator. The levitator is made of two small speakers which create two sets of sound waves at 22 kilohertz, which humans can't hear.

The two sets of sound waves that interfere with each other. The pressure generated by these two sound waves is high enough to counteract the effects of gravity. This allows light droplets of liquid to levitate, if scientists put them in the right place amongst the sound waves.

What's the point of levitating water?

Liquid levitation can help scientists to make medicines with fewer side effects. Medicines come in two categories - amorphous and crystalline.

Amorphous medicines are absorbed by the body quicker, so you can take a lower dose. But, amorphous medicines are difficult to make.

When scientists make medicines, they first make a liquid solution of the medicine. The water needs to evaporate off from the liquid, to produce a solid medicine. If the liquid touches the sides of a container, it can crystallise. Crystalline medicines are harder for the body to absorb, so a bigger dose is needed. A bigger dose of medicine can cause more side effects.

If scientists can levitate their liquid medicine solution, the medicines won't crystallise. Instead, the water will evaporate, leaving an amorphous medicine behind.