kdawson from the now-to-try-it-on-cats-and-dogs dept.
Chinobi writes "Di Gao, an assistant professor at the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, has developed a method of separating oil from water within just seconds using a cotton cloth coated in a chemical polymer that makes it both hydrophilic (it bonds with the hydrogen atoms in water) and oleophobic (oil-repelling), making it absolutely perfect for blocking oil and letting water pass through. Gao tested his filter successfully on Gulf Oil water and oil and has an impressive video to demonstrate the results." This is a laboratory demonstration; the technology hasn't been tested at scale.
The perversity of nature is nowhere better demonstrated by the fact that, when
exposed to the same atmosphere, bread becomes hard while crackers become soft.