Created a sponge capable of cleaning the ocean from oil and oil products


2017-03-07 16:30:05




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and its by-products today are the main oceans of our planet. Almost all serious cases of ocean pollution are associated with oil. Even if we ignore the serious accidents of tankers and oil platforms, you should not forget that the annual water deliberately dumped from 8 to 20 million barrels of oil simply as a result of cleaning the holds of marine carriers of oil. And scientists have long racked their brains over how you can effectively and inexpensively purify water from the spilled oil. Well, it seems, had found a pretty good solution.

A Buttery oil slick, usually either burn or try to collect with the help of special jaws. So, the specialists of the Argonne national laboratory under US Department of energy has developed a completely new generation of sponges that is not enough, that is suitable for reusable use, and absorbs oil and products of its processing, not only from the surface of the water, but even under water. The development was named Oleo Sponge. After the sponge has absorbed the oil, squeeze on a special machine, after which it again becomes suitable for work.

The Idea of creating this material has been floating around for a long time, but only now scientists were able to transfer your dream into reality. Based on a common sponge polyurethane foam, well-absorbing liquid. The main problem was that this material did not distinguish between plain water and oily oil, soaking both. That is why researchers had to modify the foam by applying a process called "sequential infiltration synthesis". The sponge started to give preference to oily liquids, absorbing them, leaving the water outside.

During the hundreds of tests Oleo Sponge to cheer coped with all its task to clean up water bodies. However, a new sponge to absorb not only oil and products of its processing, but also diesel fuel and various oils of different origin. Scientists can adjust the material so that it selectively will begin to absorb any other liquids at their request, so the new sponge just wide scope. I think that very soon we will see the application of the sponge in practice, but the team of researchers continues to improve his creation and think about how to commercialize the invention.


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