Insertion and confinement of hydrophobic metallic powder in water: The bubble-marble effect

Yehuda Meir*, Eli Jerby

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Metallic powders such as thermite are known as efficient fuels also applicable in oxygen-free environments. However, due to their hydrophobicity, they hardly penetrate into water. This paper presents an effect that enables the insertion and confinement of hydrophobic metallic powders in water, based on encapsulating an air bubble surrounded by a hydrophobic metallic shell. This effect, regarded as an inverse of the known liquid-marble effect, is named here "bubble marble" (BM). The sole BM is demonstrated experimentally as a stable, maneuverable, and controllable soft-solid-like structure, in a slightly deformed hollow spherical shape of ∼1-cm diameter. In addition to experimental and theoretical BM aspects, this paper also demonstrates its potential for underwater applications, such as transportation of solid objects within BM and underwater combustion of thermite BM by localized microwaves. Hence, the BM phenomena may open new possibilities for heat and thrust generation, as well as material processing and mass transfer underwater.

Original languageEnglish
Article number030301
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 11 Sep 2014


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