Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Increasing Applications of Micro Bubbles

Author: Ken Yap

There have been a lot of research studies on micro bubbles in recent years.

Micro bubbles are miniature gas bubbles of less than 50 microns diameter in water. The micro bubbles, which mostly contain oxygen or air, can remain suspended in the water for an extended period. Gradually, the gas within the micro bubbles dissolves into the water and the bubbles disappear. These bubbles are generated by various types of aerators now available in the market.

These micro bubbles, being of extremely small size, are characterized by having electrical charges. They attract suspended floating particles very effectively. This particular property has been used in sludge treatment by using the micro bubbles to capture and float organic matters, thus decreasing the time required for the sludge treatment.

Micro bubbles have also been introduced by the Japanese to market safe and good tasting oysters. Micro bubbles of concentrated oxygen containing about 2% ozone can be used to inactivate norovirus in shellfish and oysters. This norovirus is one of the major pathogens causing food poisoning in winter. This is a much more cost effective method compared to cultivating the oysters in sterile seawater and using chlorine-based germicide.

Another emergent usage of micro bubbles is in the areas of cancer treatment. Scientists are in the process of developing a method of diagnosing cancer lesions by injecting micro bubbles into the blood stream. During the ultrasonic scan for cancer lesions, the micro bubbles contract and expand rapidly due to the pressures produced by the ultrasonic beam. Groups of the micro bubbles at cancerous tumours will show up very visibly on ultrasonic scans to indicate the presence of cancerous cells.

Due to their large surface area volume ratio, micro bubbles can penetrate deeply into a surface for effective cleaning. This cleaning effect of micro bubbles is used in cleaning the inside of vegetables such as cabbage and radish sprout, as well as maintenance of freshness with vegetables in one particular vegetable processing center in Japan.

On a more personal level, the micro bubbles can penetrate deeply into skin for a good scrub without the need for any shampoo or soap. This skin treatment has been introduced within some spas in Japan as well as shops specializing in bathing pets. Needless to say, the baths are especially helpful for pets which have skin allergies to pet shampoos.

Suwa companies are also developing a small handy micro bubble generator which can be used at home. With all the product development going on, very soon, you may be able to purchase a micro bubble generator at your electronics store and relax in a micro bubble bath at home.

About the author: Author Ken Yap is a director of Suwa Precision Engineering Pte Ltd in Singapore which represents

deep drawn metal stamping ,

swiss screw machining , miniature pcb, and miniature gears manufacturers from Suwa, Japan.

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