Asuper absorbent sponge may be about to radically change our approach to cleaning up oil spills. After eating 90 times its own body weight in oil, the sponge can be wrung out and reused again. In addition to potentially being the most effective method of oil-cleanup yet, it’s the first to directly suck up oil below the visible slick on the surface.
The foam is composed of polyamide plastics treated with silane molecules that, in the right proportions, seek out oil and soak it right up. The material is the brainchild of University of Chicago scientist Seth Darling, who developed the underlying technology system known as sequential infiltration synthesis.
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