Nanosponges Absorb Oil Again and Again

by Editor

Nanosponge technology is set to clean up in an amazing breakthrough in oil spill recovery methods! Oil spills which up until now have been one of the most complex, costly and environmentally damaging man made catastrophes on the planet. But thanks to research carried out at Rice University and Penn State University, this could be a thing of the past.

SpongeBob SquarePants has a new mate “Nanosponge CleanPants” and will be making his debut at an oil spill near you.

Nonosponges set to clean up!

Researchers at Rice University and Penn State University have discovered that adding a dash of boron to carbon while creating nanotubes turns them into solid, spongy, reusable blocks that have an astounding ability to absorb oil spilled in water. That’s one of a range of potential innovations for the material created in a single step. The team found for the first time that boron puts kinks and elbows into the nanotubes as they grow and promotes the formation of covalent bonds, which give the sponges their robust qualities.

The researchers, who collaborated with peers in labs around the nation and in Spain, Belgium and Japan, revealed their discovery in Nature’s Scientific Reports. Lead a uthor Daniel Hashim, a graduate student in the Rice lab of materials scientist Pulickel Ajayan, said the blocks are both super hydrophobic (they hate water, and float really well) and oleophilic (they love oil).

The nanosponges, which are more than 99 percent air, also conduct electricity and can easily be manipulated with magnets. To demonstrate, Hashim dropped the sponge into a dish of water with used motor oil floating on top. The sponge soaked it up. He then put a match to the material, burned off the oil and returned the sponge to the water to absorb more. The robust sponge can be used repeatedly and stands up to abuse; he said a sample remained elastic after about 10,000 compressions in the lab. The sponge can also store the oil for later retrieval, he said.

News Source: The Cutting Edge News

What do you think?

Are we doing enough to prevent oil spills and should petroleum corporations be held more accountable for their misconduct?

Is we doing enough to develop new technologies to prevent and clean up after these disasters?

Should we be developing alternate energy resources and stop using oil altogether?

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