Mesoscale Phenomena in Fluid Systems
“Mesoscale” is a term often used to describe structures and behaviors that occur at length scales between nanometers (10-9m) and microns (10-6m). As the name implies, mesoscale structures are intermediate in size. They are larger than the molecular or atomistic scale – which makes them inaccessible to many molecular characterization methods, and prohibitively expensive to model using atomistic based simulation techniques (such as molecular mechanics). Yet because of their nanometer to micron structure they cannot be fully characterized by their bulk behavior or modeled using continuum models. These types of materials have also been called soft condensed matter, or nanostructured fluids.
This intermediate length scale is challenging to study, yet phenomena that occur at this scale determine the properties of many scientifically and commercially important materials. The person we have mind, our target audience as we have developed the original ACS Symposia and this book, is an industrial research scientist working on a product whose performance depends on mesoscale phenomena. This could be a personal care product such as a liquid hand soap or shampoo, a cosmetic product such as a moisturizer or make-up, or a food. It could be paint, or ink. It could be the microencapsulation or delivery system for a drug, an emulsion polymerization, or the mesoscale structure that forms during fiber spinning. We hope that this book will be a valuable resource, an encyclopedia of available techniques and applications for the scientists faced with the challenge of controlling and designing these types of materials. However, we would also recommend this work as a reference of complementary approaches to researchers focused one or two of the techniques described.
Meoscale phenomena also operate on critical length scale critical for biological materials, and many of the techniques described in this book may be of interest to the biochemistry community. The book is presented in three sections. In the first and largest section, experimental techniques to characterize mesoscale structure are described by some of the leading experts. The second section focuses on mesoscale modeling and simulation methods. Because of the challenge of experimental characterization, particularly for complex mixtures, these are especially valuable for this class of materials. The final section of the book includes industrial case studies or applications examples showing how an understanding of mesoscale structure, properties and phase behavior can be used in materials design.
The range of applications, characterization methods, and modeling techniques is broad. We expect that most readers will find at least one method that is new to them. Each of the contributors hopes that you will find the methods and techniques described in their chapter particularly useful in your research, and in addition to describing our latest research we have provided careful introductions placing our work in context, and key references for further reading.
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