Watching paint dry. It’s the quintessential description of the most boring thing imaginable. That concept is being challenged, however, and some of the top scientists in the United Kingdom are spearheading this
mind-numbingly-tedious eye-opening crusade.
In a study published in the journal Physical Review Letters, scientists from the University of Surrey reported the findings of their study that consisted of carefully watching paint dry. The study, entitled “Dynamic Stratification in Drying Films of Colloidal Mixtures” (Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 118301 – Published 18 March 2016), lacks a bit in compelling drama and action. In fact, reading it is a wee bit akin to … well… watching paint dry.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Dr. Andrea Fortini, primary author of the study, explained, “When coatings such as paint, ink or even outer layers on tablets are made, they work by spreading a liquid containing solid particles onto a surface, and allowing the liquid to evaporate. This is nothing new, but what is exciting is that we’ve shown that during evaporation, the small particles push away the larger ones, remaining at the top surface whilst the larger are pushed to bottom. This happens naturally.” (emphasis added).
So there you have it. Watching paint dry can be exciting. Exciting, that is, if you are a scientist from Surrey.