Originally patented in 1968, a water-air emulsion encapsulated in refined silica known as "dry water" has been used in the cosmetics industry for years. Dry water is the name given to a water droplet encapsulated in silica. It is generally produced in a simple batch process in which powder and water are mixed at high shear rates. The scale-up of this batch process to meet high usage demands is difficult at best.
Researchers at UT Austin have designed a new method of producing silica-encapsulated water with the same quality as that of the batch process dry water. The invention utilizes a single air stream, silica, and a cyclone separator in a way that will enable the high-capacity production of this high-demand product. This process will allow for the demands of the market to be met by use of a continuous production of encapsulated droplets.
Benefits and features
- Higher production rates than batch process of similar size
- No high-pressure system requirements
- Produces dry water of similar quality compared to the batch process
Markets for the invention include fire suppression, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and gas storage.
Lab/bench prototype. Issued US patents: 10,052,601 and 9,724,663
Figure 1: Continuous production system for encapsulated water aerosol mist