Stochastic Scribbles
Random musings in a variety of subjects, from science to religion.

A container-less container in space

One interesting chemical instrument has been installed on the International Space Station. Called Space-DRUMS, it is a chemical reactor which can prevent the reacting chemicals from contacting any other solid material by suspending them in mid-air using sound waves. This means that it can avoid any chemical contamination from a container, such as plastics or glass, which can be useful for manufacturing ultra-pure chemical products. Although it might not be so useful if you even have to worry about contamination from the air itself: vacuum could prevent contamination from air, but then there wouldn’t be any sound waves to contain chemical reactions.

Space-DRUMS; from the University of Bath

This is the sort of thing that would be very difficult to do on the ground, if feasible at all. I have a feeling that sound waves powerful enough to suspend chemicals in mid-air in one Earth gravity would disrupt many chemical reactions that people may want to try …