Scientists of Argonne National Laboratory created a reusable sponge to clean oil effusion in the sea and proved it successfully on the beach of the city of California, they publish press means.
The new technology is composed of common polyurethane - of the type used for the dressmaking of furniture - and of a skill called synthesis of sequential infiltration, used to unmelt metallic oxides in polymeric materials.
The polyurethane was offering a wide surface area to gather prodigal oil and useful mechanical properties, but a new superficial chemistry was necessary to join firmly the molecules that absorb the fuel, said Seth Darling, one of the inventors.
Finally they found a way of adapting the skill to develop an extremely thin layer of “priming“ of metallic oxide close to the interior surfaces of the froth to join hard the molecules to capture the oil.
Before to the test in open waters, the material demonstrated his efficacy in the laboratory. A tank of large-scale sea water used by companies and government agencies to evaluate technologies for the answer to the effusion of oil was the stage for the ratification.
The cleanliness method is simple: the sponge submerges in the water and then it is squeezed, the oil is gathered in containers for his possible recycling or sure elimination. After draining the oil, Oil Sponge can be used again.
For the experiment the scientists chose the field of filtration Coal Oil Point in the channel of Santa Barbara close to Schooner. The place keeps on being one of the biggest and better studied areas of active marine filtration in the world.
In this area, the filtrations have been active for at least 500 thousand years and liberate approximately 40 tons of methane, 19 tons of other organic gases and more than 100 barrels of liquid oil every day.
The experts wanted to verify if the Oil Sponge might eliminate the layer of surface oil of approximately a micron of thickness that shines perpetually in the surface of the water. They opened a set of sponges and it are be capable of eliminating successfully the sheen of the oil of the surface of the water, without leaving visible tracks.
“This technology is important because, in spite of the biggest precautions of the industry, the oil effusion keeps on happening, and the existing cleanliness methods are surprisingly inadequate”, expressed Darling. (Text and photo: PL)