Dutch researchers have developed a gel-forming polymer so effective that a kilogram of the stuff sprinkled across an Olympic sized swimming pool would turn the entire thing to jelly. At least, that’s how they describe the properties of polyisocyanide polymer, which they’ve just revealed to the world in the journal Nature. Materials scientist Alan Rowan at the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands calls it the best gel-forming polymer in the world, “an order of magnitude better than anything else.” All you have to do is add a little heat.
This is cool on a number of levels. First of all, though the researchers have not yet experimented with a real Olympic swimming pool, the ability to rapidly turn large bodies of water into gelatin is sure to have major impacts in the disciplines of both cocktail party tricks and teenage petty vandalism.