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Japanese Researchers Make Plastic Out of Water

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the what's-kanji-for-boffin? dept.

Earth 117

greenrainbow writes with this excerpt from Inhabit: "The material shown in the picture above is just ice, right? Look again. Elastic water, a new substance invented by researchers at Tokyo University, is a jelly-like substance made up of 95% water along with two grams of clay and a small amount of organic materials. As is, the all-natural substance is perfect for medical procedures, because it's made of water, poses no harm to people, and is perfect for mending tissue. And, if the research team can increase the density of this exciting new substance, it could be used in place of our current oil-based plastics for a host of other things."

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First Post (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051358)

Woohoo, plastic water, just what I need! (:

Re:First Post (4, Funny)

OrwellianLurker (1739950) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051374)

Great, now dolphins can choke on water too.

Re:First Post (0, Offtopic)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051556)

oh great, way to take the wind out of my sails. ):

Re:First Post (5, Funny)

Jarnin (925269) | more than 4 years ago | (#32054006)

When asked about potential choking hazard to dolphins, the Japanese scientists were quoted saying, "Fuck you dolphin!"

Re:First Post (0, Redundant)

skine (1524819) | more than 4 years ago | (#32055706)

Why can't they be more like us and kill chickens and cows?

Re:First Post (1)

StoneOldman79 (1497187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32054944)

No, they probably want to use them to choke whales for more "research".
Those Japanese scientists never bothered to look it up...
Dolphins and whales are mammals and you can choke them pretty easily in plain old seawater.
Big waste of time if you ask me.

It's not April First (0, Offtopic)

dunng808 (448849) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051400)

I know Japan is a day ahead, but April Fools Day was last month.

Re:It's not April First (1)

dunng808 (448849) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051496)

what's-kanji-for-boffin -- interi?

Blurry (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051384)

Wow, that's one blurry photograph.

hmm (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051388)

any one else thinking of ice nine?

Re:hmm (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051668)

Rice Nine.

Re:hmm (1)

tzot (834456) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051952)

Yep, ice-9. That's what I thought at first, too. Then, while reading the article (something about eventually decreasing the density), I thought "new replacement for silicone used in breast implants". Then I combined the two and resulted with something marginally better than a plastic doll.

you mean a goo girl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32053144)

you mean a goo girl [sankakucomplex.com] ? warning, NSFW

Re:hmm (4, Funny)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 4 years ago | (#32053360)

Ice and breasts? Sounds like my last girlfriend...

Re:hmm (1)

Opyros (1153335) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052028)

That was the second thing I thought of – the first was "polywater".

Thank you, and Baen Books! (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 4 years ago | (#32055324)

And you made me remember: Polywater Doodle [webscription.net] !

Leave it Baen Books to put some of my childhood back up on the web for free. Anyway, their DRM-free marketing strategy works for me, I've never bought any ebooks anywhere else!

Re:hmm (1)

Black Gold Alchemist (1747136) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052792)

aisu-kyuu? (Means ice nine in japanese).

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32053396)

No, because this isn't a new allotrope of water. It's a homogeneous mixture.

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32058318)

more like 3,2

Whatever... (3, Funny)

thestudio_bob (894258) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051402)

Not impressed. I read somewhere where some guy turned water into wine. Not that's impressive.

Re:Whatever... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051760)

That's easy, just add sugar and yeast.

Re:Whatever... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32052484)

You kid and all, but he did do it instantly. Let's also remember wine is made with grapes not grains.

Re:Whatever... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32052520)

Did he? Bear in mind that none of the accounts of jesus are first hand.

Re:Whatever... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32052578)

Makes it even more believable! He didn't even say he did it, he just did it.

Re:Whatever... (2, Insightful)

Pikoro (844299) | more than 4 years ago | (#32055128)

Yah, homeopathic history. The farther from the original event they are recorded, and the more times it has been passed by word of mouth before it's committed to some more permanent medium, the more believable it is.

Re:Whatever... (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 4 years ago | (#32053214)

Liquor de Malt [dogfish.com]

Re:Whatever... (2, Funny)

Svippy (876087) | more than 4 years ago | (#32054306)

Not impressed. I read somewhere where some guy turned water into wine. Not that's impressive.

Aren't you hard to impress?

Yes, I am calling him out on his typo.

Elastic water (4, Funny)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051412)

Take this on desert treks. You can stretch it over a much longer time.

Fine... (5, Interesting)

rmushkatblat (1690080) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051440)

It would be interesting to know exactly what the other "organic materials" are, and how they made it.

Re:Fine... (5, Funny)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051470)

Jello mix

Re:Fine... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051824)

I was about to say - because it looks not like ice, but like gelatin.

Re:Fine... (1)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052252)

***It would be interesting to know exactly what the other "organic materials" are***

My spies tell me they are

Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and howlet's wing

Let's see if the USTPO can recognize the prior art once this stuff is reformulated into patent speak.

Already invented eons ago (1, Informative)

t0qer (230538) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051462)

Re:Already invented eons ago (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32055898)

Yeah. I stopped being impressed the instant I found that it was only 95% water. Lettuce is also 95% water (depending on the variety, you can look them up at a USDA website [usda.gov] ).

That’s the whole idea of an aerosol or gel. It’s mostly one substance because of its properties that you like, but has just enough of another substance (that also has certain properties that you like) to give the overall gel or aerosol those properties.

clone54321 are you a chemist? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32055934)

No? Then, stfu. You're no expert and you don't even post data to backup your statements. You'd seem a bit more credible if you did that much at least because without your being a chemist with a degree or letters behind your name, you're just another slashdot pseudo expert.

APK, are you an asshat? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32055942)

Yes? Then, stfu. I did even post data to back up my statement.

Yes figures: You're no chemist, Mr wanna be expert (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32056284)

LMAO, see subject above. No degrees at all in anything and yet clone54321 is "the expert of all things magical and mystical" lol (not). I don't know what the acronym apk stands for, but you are easy meat because you play expert and you clearly are not one, in anything. clone54321 plays a chemist on tv, lol. Go get that degree in chemistry or chemical engineering, first, and then get back to us, ok clone54321? That way, we'd be free of your constant misinforming us all here everyday.

Attention Japanese Science-fidels (4, Informative)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051484)

We "invented" this a couple of hundred years ago. We call it "jelly" in civilised lands, or "jello" in the colonies. kthxbye.

Re:Attention Japanese Science-fidels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32052352)

Perhaps you were trying to be funny, but:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konjac [wikipedia.org]

Re:Attention Japanese Science-fidels (1)

Randle_Revar (229304) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052940)

jelly is what you put on toast

Re:Attention Japanese Science-fidels (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32054244)

Only in America. Everywhere else (English speaking), jam is what you put on toast.

Re:Attention Japanese Science-fidels (1)

aquila.solo (1231830) | more than 4 years ago | (#32054734)

We (in America) also put jam on toast. Jam has bits of fruit in it and is generally softer than jelly. Jelly is fruit-flavored gelatin. Jell-O is a brand that, like Xerox, has become synonymous with its product.

Re:Attention Japanese Science-fidels (2, Interesting)

Randle_Revar (229304) | more than 4 years ago | (#32057130)

Is jello regional like Xerox? Because here in the Northwest most people use "Xerox" only as a proper noun.

And I don't know about elsewhere, but here people only use "jello" for gelatin if you make it from a powder, and eat it by itself, regardless of brand. If solid gelatin is premade and in a jar and you put it on bread or something, it is always "jelly".

Re:Attention Japanese Science-fidels (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#32053204)

We "invented" this a couple of hundred years ago. We call it "jelly" in civilised lands, or "jello" in the colonies. kthxbye.

Sure, but it's a whole class of materials called gels.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gel [wikipedia.org]

"Gels are defined as a substantially dilute crosslinked system, which exhibits no flow when in the steady-state."

Nice units, blog writers! (5, Funny)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051486)

...a jelly-like substance made up of 95% water along with two grams of clay and a small amount of organic materials.

It also takes 7 minutes and 8% of your time to set after you mix the ingredients together.

Re:Nice units, blog writers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32053564)

Let's fix it...

x = total sample mass
2g = 0.05x
x = 40g

Sample mass minus clay mass:
40g - 2g = 38g water
...

38g water from before, times 1.004 mL/g (buoyancy corrected density of water at 25C)
38g (1.004 mL/g) = 38.15 mL
2g clay is dissolved in 38.15 mL water

Re:Nice units, blog writers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32055162)

You just grouped together clay and the other organic materials. But in reality
1, we don't know their ratio
2, don't know what the other organic materials are

Re:Nice units, blog writers! (1)

zygotic mitosis (833691) | more than 4 years ago | (#32055302)

I neglected 'small amounts' as being journalistically synonymous with 'trace amounts'.

Walking on water. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051500)

Oh, so that's how Jesus did it.

Interesting Other Properties as Well (1)

itsdrewmiller (1346931) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051522)

Apparently this new substance melts at 45.8 degrees Celsius.

Re:Interesting Other Properties as Well (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052728)

Useless in the tropics, then, eh?

water + clay + organic = god made a human? (0, Flamebait)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051552)

Is it like some sort of a water bag/pocket, only if it tears it will not leak, is it sort of like Jelo?

The story has no details, it's water + clay + some organic stuff.

Sounds like what god was using to throw together the first human prototype. Are these guys from Tokyo god?

Re:water + clay + organic = god made a human? (2, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051796)

The story has no details, it's water + clay + some organic stuff.

That's the Jell-O you dropped on the ground by accident.

remember aquaplastics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051602)

on X-COM Terror From the Deep (circa 1996), there was this fictional alien material called aquaplastics...which could be used to build armor.

Cool, but.... (3, Informative)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051612)

Cool, but old news [nature.com] . Haven't really heard anything about it since (other than rehashes of that same info from Oct)

Re:Cool, but.... (1)

one-eye-johnson (911152) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051776)

Thanks for linking to the actual paper. The other article was completely non-informative.

Re:Cool, but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32053834)

I know this is OT, so I'm posting Anon, but after reading your username, and seeing what you did I almost shit my pants.

I for one... (0, Troll)

grnbrg (140964) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051618)

welcome our new water-based, plastic overlords!

Re:I for one... (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#32054030)

welcome our new water-based, plastic overlords!

This is not the Kool Aid you seek. Nothing to see here. Move along.

more (5, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051652)

natural

breast

implants

that is all

Re:more (2, Insightful)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051956)

And suddenly I think we might actually see this stuff getting mass produced.

Re:more (2, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052722)

If they are implanted, they are by definition not natural. Sorry. ^^

Re:more (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 4 years ago | (#32054434)

That depends on how you define "natural".

It's perfectly reasonable to call an implant "natural" if the material it's made of is natural (i.e., not man-made). In this case, they'd be compared to silicone implants, which don't fit anyone's definition of "natural".

On the other hand, this substance itself is man-made, so it can't be "natural" (but not for the reason you state). I would hazard a guess that they feel more natural than the silicone implants.

Re:more (2, Insightful)

dhalgren (34798) | more than 4 years ago | (#32055098)

The implants may be natural, but that doesn't mean that the breasts are.

Re:more (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 4 years ago | (#32055632)

Right, but when you say "natural breast implants" (as the original post that Hurricane78 was responding to did), "natural" refers to the implants, not the breasts. Besides that, if you really wanted to get precise, I think most breasts are natural. It's the internals of the breasts that are artificial. The external breasts themselves are still (AFAIK) still skin tissue.

Re:more (0)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32057464)

When was the last time you used actual speech to talk to someone? ;)

Is it “natural breasts implants” or “natural breats implants

It is obvious, that we meant the former, not the latter, since the latter is not something, someone would want, since for us “users”, it would make no difference if the implants were natural. What counts is if the breasts are natural.

So whooosh. ^^

Good! (0, Troll)

bynary (827120) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051698)

...because if there's one thing the human race doesn't need for survival, it's definitely water.

OMG!!! It's ICE 9!!! (1)

RedCharlie (1801646) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051710)

...for the Vonnegut fans out there...

Old news is old. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051926)

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10441604-1.html

Pretty easy ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051982)

.. when you the use water off of Louisiana.

The secret is... (1)

falken0905 (624713) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052094)

That all of the necessary chemicals to make plastic are already in our polluted water. They have simply found a way to make it congeal.

*ANOTHER* Misleading Title..... (4, Insightful)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052200)

Again, the "Wizards" at SlashDot let ANOTHER crappy and purely misleading title make its way into "News":

".....95% water along with two grams of clay and a small amount of organic materials."

-So, in all ACTUALITY, the researchers did *NOT* make plastic out of water, the made it out of water, clay, and other chemicals, but not just water.

This use of water is no more remarkable than the use of other absorbant polymers or hydrogels, such as Super Slurper, or for an organic material, Gelatin.

It's about time somebody started seeing such "discoveries" for what they really are: Re-hashed Crap. I'm waiting to see a SlashDot article where somebody discovers The Wheel.

Re:*ANOTHER* Misleading Title..... (1)

John Meacham (1112) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052286)

Obligatory KOTH quote:

Dale Gribble: "If you want, I can teach you how to make a bomb out of a toilet paper roll and a stick of dynamite."

Re:*ANOTHER* Misleading Title..... (2, Informative)

jelizondo (183861) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052536)

Apparently you missed it [newscientist.com]

Re:*ANOTHER* Misleading Title..... (1)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 4 years ago | (#32054276)

I stand corrected.

Please accept my sincere apologies for any inconvenience.

Re:*ANOTHER* Misleading Title..... (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 4 years ago | (#32053160)

Actually, I find the claim of 95% water interesting, because I would have figured that most plastics were substantially more than 5% backbone elements (carbon, silicon, nitrogen, sulfur, and other nonmetals that can sustain more than two covalent bonds per atom, so that you can chain them end-to-end with one another in long molecules and still attach other stuff at the sides). Water contains only oxygen and hydrogen, neither of which, so far as I am aware, is known to form chains more than three atoms long (well, hydrogen does when it's solid, but it's more metal than plastic, and furthermore it reverts to a diatomic gas if you look at it funny or let the temperature rise much above zero kelvins).

Re:*ANOTHER* Misleading Title..... (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#32053366)

I also like how they confused plastic(as in deformation) with plastic(as in chained hydrocarbons)

Re:*ANOTHER* Misleading Title..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32054628)

Did you expect this new material to be made 100% of water? Any normal person would read the title and reason that this new plastic would be mostly water, not %100 water.

self-healing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32052320)

It also has a high mechanical strength and self mends when damaged.

Either the article is wrong, or it has some very interesting properties.

Aerogel anyone? (5, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052580)

Aerogel [wikipedia.org] * is also only 2% silica and 98% air. Doesn’t mean it’s made out of air.
This is a material out of clay, that can bind lots of water. Just like aerogel binds lots of air.

___
* Btw, my favorite of all “normal” materials on this planet. :) (The favorite abnormal is definitely a Bose-Einstein condensate!)

Re:Aerogel anyone? (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#32053218)

Aerogel [wikipedia.org] * is also only 2% silica and 98% air. Doesn’t mean it’s made out of air.
This is a material out of clay, that can bind lots of water. Just like aerogel binds lots of air.

___
* Btw, my favorite of all “normal” materials on this planet. :) (The favorite abnormal is definitely a Bose-Einstein condensate!)

And as you might expect, this one is called a hydrogel. The novel part isn't that it has a lot of water in it - much more dilute hydrogels are trivially produced and have been since before I was born. I think the interesting part here, without RTFA, is that this is a ceramic instead of an elastomer.

One solution was invented decades ago... (1)

Kevin Burtch (13372) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052700)

I can't remember if it was Popular Science, Popular Mechanics or Mechanix Illustrated, but at least 25 years ago I read an article about an invention that would be ideal for such a spill.
It was a large dome that floated mostly underwater, with a cupula sticking out of the top with baffles that directed waves into the center.
The wave action essentially pumped the oil floating on the surface (and water) into the dome, and since the oil floats, the water was pushed out of the bottom. It was designed to be deployed as an array for very large spills such as this one.

Water Bottles (1)

undecim (1237470) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052740)

Sounds like an excellent marketing ploy for bottled water companies

"because it's made of water, poses no harm" (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052848)

Water, clay and "organic materials". What if the "organic materials" are dysentery amoeba, Ebola virus, or cyanide? Suddenly 95% water doesn't mean as much.

Safe for human use? (4, Insightful)

sodafox (1135849) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052868)

Just because it is 95% water does not mean it is necessarily safe for human use. Aside from a little clay, what is the rest of that 5% of 'organic material'? Formaldehyde is an organic material, and I would not want that put into my body in any great quantity.

Re:Safe for human use? (1)

tchdab1 (164848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32053084)

Exactly. It can't be both an exciting new substance, and safe for human use.

If it's new, how are you sure it's safe?
You must mean it doesn't immediately poison you or asphyxiate you or stab you.
Before I can be sure it's safe (if it's new) I want the bejesus tested out of it.

Care to start testing it by slapping a wad of it on your arm for a week or two? Breathe deeply.

Re:Safe for human use? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#32055326)

Formaldehyde is an organic material, and I would not want that put into my body in any great quantity.

- that's because you are not as cool yet as a pharaoh.

whaa? (2, Interesting)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052872)

First:

is a jelly-like substance made up of 95% water along with two grams of clay and a small amount of organic materials.

Then:

because it's made of water, poses no harm to people

That's about as reassuring as saying "This 95% water and 5% deadly deadly poison solution will be completely safe to inject directly into your bloodstream, since it is made completely out of water!"

A photographer's POV (1)

Alexvthooft (1798010) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052890)

Fine, they can make plastic out of water, way cool! I'll give em that. But why, oh why can't they upload a decent photo :S

Right (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#32053004)

because it's made of water, poses no harm to people

      Yeah. Forget about the clay and OTHER ORGANIC MOLECULES, it's got water so it has to be safe, right? People can be allergic to iron or zinc, let alone complex molecules.

      Sea water is made of "water" too. Try injecting some in your veins.

I want my transparent aluminum! (1)

zish (174783) | more than 4 years ago | (#32053328)

I don't care how crappy the movie was!

Re:I want my transparent aluminum! (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 4 years ago | (#32053876)

Here you go. [physicsworld.com]

Welcome to 2004.

There was even a slashdot discussion [slashdot.org] of the article.

Another Great Product That Won't Make It (2, Insightful)

Codename Dutchess (1782238) | more than 4 years ago | (#32053358)

This will never replace oil based plastics. All you need to do is look at how hemp isn't replacing wood products, paper, clothing, etc. There are too few people with too much money running the oil industry. If they don't want your little water-plastics taking over the market, then it won't be. Simple as that.

lies lies and damned lies (1)

plague911 (1292006) | more than 4 years ago | (#32054056)

"because it's made of water, poses no harm to people"" tell that to any one who has been hit by a large wave.. or a hurricane or a typhoon or been hit by another human being.

Ice-nine ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32054500)

One step closer to ice-nine [wikipedia.org] .

Where is the recipe or the journal article? (1)

cyn1c77 (928549) | more than 4 years ago | (#32056512)

Could anyone find the link to the Nature article or any other scientific literature on this material? I couldn't find it in the current issue of Nature.

This is not new--or even recent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32056566)

This is not new, nor is it even recent--you could buy this as a novelty (and a very nasty prank item) some fifteen years ago. You simply take five to ten pounds of the powder stuff, scatter it in somebody's living room, and then add water, with a hose. It is a damn HARD cleanup, as it forms "ice-cubes" up to waist deep. Another vandal use for it is dump ten-twenty pounds into swimming pools, or ornamental ponds/fountains--but try it yourself!

high strength (1)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 4 years ago | (#32057064)

how strong is it, and by what measure? I see it flexes in that person's hand so it's certainly not rigid. tensile strength? sheer strength? There's no way to tell what may or may not be done with the substance without more information.

Is it biodegradable? (1)

wrencherd (865833) | more than 4 years ago | (#32057194)

The most important thing about any replacement for our current plastics, I would think, would be that it be biodegradable, no?

TFA doesn't seem to say one way or another though.

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