London, Feb 11 : Scientists have discovered the secret behind firm sandcastles - water.
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Go¨ttingen, and colleagues in Germany and Australia have given the answer to why building sandcastles is child's play.
Previous studies have revealed that the perfect sandcastle could be made from eight parts sand to one part water.
The current study, led by Prof Stephan Herminghaus, has shown that almost any ratio could successfully build a firm sandcastle.
For the study, the scientists examined the wet sand using a bright source of X-rays generated by a device called a synchrotron.
Using computer software, they combined those images to create a detailed 3D view of how the water and sand were interacting.
They then repeated that process with smaller and smaller amounts of water.
The findings revealed that water formed flexible microscopic bridges and clusters holding the sand together, reports the Telegraph
"The remarkable insensitivity of the mechanical properties to the liquid content is due to the particular organization of the liquid," Nature quoted the researchers, as saying.
They believe that the results could help in understanding complex physics and shed light on landslides.
The findings appear in the journal Nature Materials.