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Curr Opin Colloid Interface Sci. 2011 Dec;16(6):551-556.

Evidence for water structuring forces between surfaces.

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Neutron Scattering Science Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, PO Box 2008 MSC 6473, Oak Ridge, TN 37831.


Structured water on apposing surfaces can generate significant energies due to reorganization and displacement of water as the surfaces encounter each other. Force measurements on a multitude of biological structures using the osmotic stress technique have elucidated commonalities that point toward an underlying hydration force. In this review, the forces of two contrasting systems are considered in detail: highly charged DNA and nonpolar, uncharged hydroxypropyl cellulose. Conditions for both net repulsion and attraction, along with the measured exclusion of chemically different solutes from these macromolecular surfaces, are explored and demonstrate common features consistent with a hydration force origin. Specifically, the observed interaction forces can be reduced to the effects of perturbing structured surface water.

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