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我们是怎样把看上去无法分割的物体给分割开的? – 译学馆
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我们是怎样把看上去无法分割的物体给分割开的?

How do we separate the seemingly inseparable? - Iddo Magen

你的手机主要由塑料和金属制成
Your cell phone is mainly made of plastics and metals.
我们很容易理解那些
It’s easy to appreciate the inventive process
把各种元素加工成为有用又有趣的东西的发明过程
by which those elements are made to add up to something so useful and entertaining.
但是有件事我们没怎么听过那就是
But there’s another story we don’t hear about as much.
如何从自然中的混沌杂质
How did we get our raw ingredients in the first place
第一时间得到我们想要的原材料呢?
from the chaotic tangle of materials that is nature?
答案就在被称为分离技术的一组聪明的手段中
The answer is a group of clever hacks known as separation techniques.
它们通过利用物质的基本属性
They work by taking advantage of the fundamental properties of things
从而把物质相互分离
to disentangle them from each other.
在很多物理情况中会应用到简单的分离技术
Simple separation techniques apply to many physical scenarios,
例如从牛奶中分离出奶油
like separating cream from milk,
从泥土中提取水分
extracting water from soil,
甚至从河砂中筛出黄金微粒
or even sifting out flecks of gold from river sand.
但并不是所有的混合物都是这么简单就被分离开的
But not all mixtures are so easy to unravel.
在某些情况下
In some of those cases,
我们可以利用混合物物质性上的差异
we can exploit the differences between physical properties within a mixture,
例如颗粒尺寸
like particle size,
密度
density,
或者沸点
or boiling point
去分离出我们想要的元素
to extract what’s required.
拿石油为例
Take petroleum,
它是由不同类的碳氢化合物混合而成
a mixture of different types of hydrocarbons.
其中有的碳氢化合物可作为宝贵的燃料其他的
Some of these are valuable as fuels,
则可以作为产生电能的原材料
and others make good raw materials for generating electric power.
为了分离它们 专家们利用一个重要的特性:
To separate them, experts rely on one important feature:
不同碳氢化合物的沸点也有所差别
different hydrocarbons boil at different temperatures.
在沸腾过程中 每一种成分都在一个比较精确的沸点蒸发
During the boiling process, each type vaporizes at a precise point,
然后分别汇集在各自的容器中
then gets separately funneled into a container
冷却后以液体的形式储存
and collected as a liquid as it cools.
我们也将分离技术运用在海洋中
Separation techniques also take us to the sea.
在一些遭受旱灾困扰的国家里
In some drought-stricken countries,
海洋是仅有的可用水源当然了
the ocean is the only available water source.
人类是不能饮用盐水的
But of course, humans can’t drink salt water.
解决这个问题的办法
One way to get around this problem
就是用反渗透方法将盐从海水中移除
is to remove salt from sea water with reverse osmosis,
这也是按大小分离水分子的过程
a process that separates water’s ingredients by size.
一个比水质点大
A membrane with pores bigger than water particles,
但却比盐分子小的有孔隙的薄膜
but smaller than salt particles,
只允许淡水通过
only lets fresh water pass through,
将原来不能喝的水变为可饮用的生命之源
transforming what was once undrinkable into a life saver.
同时在医学领域
Meanwhile in the medical world,
血液测试是评估个人健康的重要手段
blood tests are a vital tool for evaluating a person’s health,
但是医生一般不能检查血液样本
but doctors typically can’t examine blood samples
除非他将固态的血细胞
until they’ve separated the solid blood cells
从液体血浆中分离出来为此
from the liquid plasma they’re dissolved in.
对试管施加强有劲的旋转力
To do that, a powerful rotational force is exerted on the test tube,
让高密度的比较重的物质
causing heavier substances with higher density,
例如血细胞
like blood cells,
远离旋转轴同时
to move away from the rotational axis.
低密度的较轻物质
Meanwhile, lighter substances with lower density,
例如血浆
like plasma,
就会留在中心
move to its center.
试管内的物质被分得一清二楚
The tube’s contents divide clearly,
这样血细胞和血浆就可以分别被检测了
and the blood cells and liquid plasma can be tested independently.
但有些时候 不像石油
But sometimes, unlike oil, seawater, and blood,
海水和血液我们想要分离的混合物成分
the parts of mixtures that we want to separate
有着相同的物理属性
share the same physical properties.
在这种情况中 分离原料的唯一方法就是化学分离
In these cases, the only way to isolate ingredients is by chemical separation,
一个基于混合物成分和其他物质之间
a complex process that relies on unique interactions
独特相互作用的复杂的过程
between components within a mixture and another material.
方法之一是色层分析法
One of these methods is chromatography,
这也是法医学家用来检测犯罪现场的一种手段
a tool forensic scientists use to examine crime scenes.
他们把收集到的证据溶解在一种气体中
They dissolve gathered evidence in a gas,
就可以检测并分析其成分
and can monitor and analyze the ingredients
由于每一种成分都有其特殊的化学性质
as they separate and move at varying speeds
所以它们会以不同的速度分离
due to their unique chemical properties.
科学家们能从这些信息中精确得知现场留下什么
That information then tells scientists precisely what was present at the scene,
利于识别出罪犯
often helping to identify the culprit.
分离技术不光运用于工业
Separation techniques are not just about industry,
基础设施医学
infrastructure,
和法律
medicine,

and justice.
人类历史中有一个”野心技术工程”
One of the most technically ambitious projects in human history
旨在以一种分离手法回答一个最基本的问题
is a separation technique aimed at answering the fundamental question,
“宇宙是由什么组成的?”
“What is the Universe made of?”
通过将粒子加速到极速
By accelerating particles to extremely high speeds
再让它们互相碰撞
and smashing them into each other,
能够在极短时间内将它们分成各自的组成部分
we can break them into their constituent parts ever so briefly.
如果我们成功了 那么接下来会是什么?
And if we succeed at that, what’s next?
会有最基本的粒子存在吗?
Is there a most elementary particle?
如果有 那它又是由什么构成的呢?
And if so, what’s it made of?

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视频来源

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