Posted March 8, 2017 by Garth Holden in News

The Oleo Sponge could help prevent the damage oil spills cause


Oil spills are a terrible mess that take a lot of money and time to clean up, with wildlife and coastlines left damaged. The oil never really gets cleaned up, because current methods, like skimming or burning the oil, only deal with the sludge below the water’s surface. The US Department of Energy’s Oleo Sponge changes that.

According to Argonne National Laboratory the sponge cleans water columns rather than just the surface. The sponge also collects the oil in such a way that both the sponge and the oil can be reused. The sponge builds on previous research into complex structures retaining oil. The cellulose sponge is treated with “hard metal oxide atoms”

“After some trial and error, [researchers] found a way to adapt the technique to grow an extremely thin layer of metal oxide ‘primer’ near the foam’s interior surfaces. This serves as the perfect glue for attaching oil-loving molecules, which are deposited in a second step; they hold onto the metal oxide layer with one end and reach out to grab oil molecules with the other.”

It has to be seen to be believed. Apparently different treatments will collect different substances, which opens this research up for multiple applications.

Source: Engadget

Garth Holden

I like so many things that it would take me several lifetimes to get through them all. So I tell you about them, so you can choose where your time and money gets spent.