Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Scientists examine aerogel technology’s potential for oil and chemical clean-up

Aerogel technology holds great potential to clean up comprehensively oil and chemical spills. If further developed, this advanced technology may even offer a cheaper and a more environment-friendly method to absorb oil and heavy metals from water and other surfaces.

Image Source:

These are the conclusions of a group of researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who recently examined alternative modifiable materials that have the ability to absorb oil and chemicals in water.

Known for their extreme low densities, aerogels are open-celled, mesoporous, solid foam composed of a network of interconnected nanostructures. They are commonly used in a variety of applications such as aerospace construction, paint thickeners, and material insulation.

Image Source:

Through their study, the researchers have created a relatively environment-friendly form of aerogel that possesses impressive properties, which include the ability to absorb oil and chemicals without absorbing water. In addition, the new aerogel can absorb up to 100 times its own weight in organic solvents and is reusable in few cycles.

In their report, the researchers stated that the new aerogel technology has one unique property that has superior absorbing ability for organic solvents and metal ions.

Image Source:

Due to its positive societal impact, the researchers—Shaoqin Sarah Gong, researcher at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID); Qifeng Zheng, associate professor of biomedical engineering; and Zhiyong Cai, a project leader at the USDA Forest Products Laboratory in Madison—revealed that they are now eager to share their findings to the scientific community and are working on its possible mass-production.

Dr. Ali Ghalambor is renowned in the energy industry for his remarkable contributions in the oil and gas sector. Learn more about his insights by visiting this blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment