Semi-permeable vesicles composed of natural clay
The authors report a way to produce semi-permeable vesicles from montmorillonite, a natural plate-like clay mineral that occurs widely in the environment. Simple shearing forces can assemble an aqueous suspension of montmorillonite clay plates onto air bubbles producing clay-armoured plates. Replacing the water with organic liquids will displace the air pocket inside the clay-armour with the liquid forming vesicles. Clay vesicles are microporous, exhibit size-selective permeability. This is the first time that any group has demonstrated self-assembly of inorganic minerals into structured compartments.
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