An introduction to phase separation


Ink and water mix but oil and water don’t. We all know this. But why? Mixing and demixing are relevant processes for many different systems: from the air you breathe to metallic alloys on your car wheels, and to the smoothie you drink at breakfast. Recent research shows that these processes also take place inside cells! Biomolecules can be mixed with the liquid interior of the cell. Sometimes these molecules demix and form droplets like oil in water. These droplets are assembled through a process called Phase Separation. This video is a short introduction to the physics of Phase Separation.


This video is part of a series created by Mariona Esquerda Ciutat, a science communicator at the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems in Dresden, Germany. Check out Mariona's other videos below.

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