New 'Paper Towel' for Oil Spills

Researchers at MIT have developed a new paper-like material that can sop up oil and other environmental spills and leave the water behind!
The scientists say they have created a membrane that can absorb up to 20 times its weight in oil, and can be recycled many times for future use. The oil itself can also be recovered. Some 200,000 tons of oil have already been spilled at sea since the start of the decade.

"What we found is that we can make 'paper' from an interwoven mesh of nanowires that is able to selectively absorb hydrophobic liquids--oil-like liquids--from water," said Francesco Stellacci, an associate professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and leader of the work.

The combination of a nanowire mesh and a water-repellant coating makes this material effective for the purpose. Other applications include water purification and filtering. Link (with video) -via Digg

(image credit: Francesco Stellacci, MIT, and Nature Nanotechnology)

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Like I said, nothing new here..

http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/items/1HEH7

Here is a list of the absorbents that they carry. Note: Universal means it absorbs any liquid, Oil only means it it doesn't absorb water. If you have a oil / water spill outside, the "Oil only" will pick up the oil and leave the water.

http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/wwg/productIndex.shtml?L2=Spill+Control&operator=prodIndexRefinementSearch&originalValue=Absorbents&L1=Absorbents%2C

Grainger is just one of thousands of national suppliers.

MIT ripped someone off!
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I imagine this
Stellacci explained that there are other materials that can absorb oils from water, "but their selectivity is not as high as ours." In other words, conventional materials still absorb some water, making them less efficient at capturing the contaminant.

has something to do with the new-shininess of this.
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