#1 Edited by narujoe93 (2429 posts) -

Okay, I was never good at science in high school, but I had this idea and thought someone could tell me if it could work or not.

Let's say you drop your phone in water, but quickly take it out and submerge it in cooking oil (which doesn't conduct electricity). Water and oil dont mix, so the water should separate from the device and float to the top of the oil. Next you take the device and submerge it in isopropyl alcohol (which also doesn't conduct electricity). This should remove the excess oil, possibly dissolving it. Then you let it dry (alcohol dries quickly, so it shouldn't take that long)

Theoretically, shouldnt this work? I actually want to try it on a device I don't care about, but figured I'd ask here as well

#2 Posted by Blackout62 (1303 posts) -

I imagine there could be some glues in the device that, while highly designed to be water resistant, were never intended as cooking oil or alcohol resistant.

#3 Posted by chainreaction01 (173 posts) -

If the phone was on when it was submerged you've probably already shorted something so it is too late for that. If the phone was off then odds are all of that was unnecessary. So long as you dry it off completely it will work fine again. That's why you'll sometimes hear stories about people just throwing their keyboards in the dishwasher. So long as it's not on that it doesn't matter if you're shorting something because there is no power to cause issues. The problem with things like phones is that the power source is internal so odds are something inside of there is going to be on and will freak out when wet.

#4 Edited by mlarrabee (2759 posts) -

There's no way that this would work.

And oil is less dense than water, not the reverse.

EDIT: The difference in density between oil and water isn't great enough to force all of the water to the bottom. Think about how many tiny air bubbles cling to the fine hairs on your body when you submerge yourself. Now replace your body with a cell phone and the fine hairs with pins and sockets. That's just one of the problems.

#5 Posted by narujoe93 (2429 posts) -

@chainreaction01: I just spilled root beer on my laptop while it was on and it didn't short anything. First I got a blue fail screen a few minutes after it happened, leading me to believe it was finished, but I opened it up and dried the rootbeer with a towel and cleaned the components with rubbing alcohol. Works fine, besides the touch pad, but I might not have hooked the ribbon cable back up properly

#6 Posted by Sinusoidal (1152 posts) -

Water and oil dont mix, so the water should separate from the device and float to the top of the oil

Density problems aside, this isn't quite how things work in reality. Especially with an electronic device with all kinds of little crevices for water and oil to get stuck in due to surface tension and cohesion. Your best bet is to turn the device off as soon as possible, hope you didn't already short something out, hope that the water you dropped it in wasn't full of impurities that are going to be left hanging around in your electronics once it evaporates and to let it dry completely before turning it back on.

#7 Posted by narujoe93 (2429 posts) -

@sinusoidal: hmm, I guess you could just chalk this up as a vinnco inspired lifehack. Also, I did think of it right as I was waking up, which I'm guessing is a bad time to come up with things

#8 Edited by Garfield518 (390 posts) -

I'd rather just stick my phone in a bowl of uncooked rice than to dunk it into cooking oil.

#9 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -

I'd rather just stick my phone in a bowl of uncooked rice than to dunk it into cooking oil.

This. This will work. Stick it in a lot of rice and let sit for 2 days.

#10 Edited by CynicalBuzzard (238 posts) -

That would not work.

#11 Edited by Clonedzero (3719 posts) -

I'd rather just stick my phone in a bowl of uncooked rice than to dunk it into cooking oil.

Ive heard this before, whats the science behind this? Not calling bullshit or anything, im just curious, stuff like this is neat.

#12 Edited by Spoonman671 (4371 posts) -

Or you could just wait until it's dry before using it again? I thought that was how it worked?

#13 Posted by RollingZeppelin (1854 posts) -

@naru_joe93: We use alcohol and compressed air to dry off electronics all the time in our lab, the oil step is unnecessary since the evaporating alcohol will displace the water, dissolve into it and cause it to evaporate as well. Compressed air will speed up the evaporation.

The oil step could be problematic since oil can be relatively more viscous and may not be able to flow into all the areas that the water did. Also water is more dense than oil so the water will sink below the oil rather than float above it.

#14 Edited by hermes (1270 posts) -

@clonedzero said:

@garfield518 said:

I'd rather just stick my phone in a bowl of uncooked rice than to dunk it into cooking oil.

Ive heard this before, whats the science behind this? Not calling bullshit or anything, im just curious, stuff like this is neat.

Yeah, I heard that solution before. The theory is that the grains of rice will absorb the water, while at the same time being to large to mess with small components. Not being a liquid helps prevent a messy situation, unlike using oil.

Haven't tried it myself, but know people that have and worked on them.

#15 Edited by TrafalgarLaw (860 posts) -

@hermes said:

@clonedzero said:

@garfield518 said:

I'd rather just stick my phone in a bowl of uncooked rice than to dunk it into cooking oil.

Ive heard this before, whats the science behind this? Not calling bullshit or anything, im just curious, stuff like this is neat.

Yeah, I heard that solution before. The theory is that the grains of rice will absorb the water, while at the same time being to large to mess with small components. Not being a liquid helps prevent a messy situation, unlike using oil.

Haven't tried it myself, but know people that have and worked on them.

Like whole grains of rice or grinded?