How does Lyft actually work?

For most people, the fact that Lyft is really green and really works is enough. Others want to know more. Like most good things, once you start getting down to the detail view, it gets pretty interesting, if you’re the sort of person who enjoys that.

Lyft is a colloid. What’s that? It’s something like a suspension, but it doesn’t settle out. There are many colloids in nature, like milk for example. Other examples include mayonnaise, blood and even human DNA! Milk stays white because it’s a colloid. One useful thing about colloids is they are more surface than volume. Huh? Ordinary soap is what scientists refer to as a “surfactant”, short for “surface-active agent”. It reduces the surface tension of water and have both a “hydrophyillic” action (water loving) and “hydrophobic” (water fearing) component.

Without getting too complicated, it’s enough to say that since colloids have a lot of surface area, they can be good surfactants. How can a liquid have a big surface area, you ask? Imagine a cube, 1 cm on all sides. There are 6 surfaces, each 1 cm square. If you slice it down the middle, now you have 12 surfaces. If you keep slicing it up, the surface area goes up exponentially. Colloids (and Lyft!) have very very tiny particles, which make up this large microscopic surface area. Colloidal liquids behave differently than regular liquids because of their huge surface to volume ratio (ok, surface-to-mass ratio, to be more technically accurate).

Because the particles in Lyft are so small they can be measured in “nano-meters”, you could call Lyft a “nano-technology product”. That might sound like good news, or it might sound a little scary. Don’t worry, it’s pretty simple. There are lots of naturally occurring nano-size particles we live with everyday, so it’s nothing new. There are two basic approaches to nanotechnology: top-down and bottom-up. Bottom up products are painstakingly engineered and constructed, molecule by molecule, as molecular building blocks. Pretty high-tech stuff, but that’s not how we make Lyft.

Top-down nanotechnology on the other hand, is a whole lot simpler: take a product, grind it and process it until the particles are really really small. Needless to say, Lyft is made using this (relatively) simple top-down method.And the best part is, all the stuff that goes into Lyft is natural. Unlike many “green” products on the market today, Lyft contains nothing toxic or carcinogenic! They said it couldn’t be done, but they were wrong.

OK, coming back to those fancy words we used earlier: “hydrophobic” and “hydrophyllic”. The microscopic surfactants that make up Lyft have a hydrophyllic water-loving head and a “hydrophobic” water-fearing tail. These join together in groups called micelles, which magnetically break the oily bonds that stick dirt to surfaces and break the oil molecules apart. Once suspended in the micelles, the dirt and oil particles cannot escape or stick again to the surface. Dirt and grime are lifted off and carried away.

Bottom line is: it’s really green, and it really works! You’ll be amazed.