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Pressurized Microcapsules feel the Heat

Physicists simulate the effects of thermal fluctuations

Jülich, 13 November 2012 – At what pressure do thin shells start to collapse? This classical mechanical problem also plays a part in understanding microcapsules, which are used to transport active ingredients directly to an organ in the body. In contrast to pressure vessels or diving bells, thermal fluctuations also exert an influence here. The microscopic shells are deformed in an uncontrolled manner due to this thermally induced molecular motion. Under pressure, these shells therefore tend to collapse at an earlier stage than predicted, which was revealed for the first time in precise calculations made by Jülich scientists and their partners from Harvard University. Their findings have been published in the renowned journal PNAS.

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