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Earth Science

Hierarchical Membrane For Cleaning Up Oil Spills 32

rtoz (2530056) writes Whenever there is a major spill of oil into water, the two tend to mix into a suspension of tiny droplets, called an "emulsion." It is extremely hard to separate them, and they can cause severe damage to ecosystems. Now, MIT researchers have discovered a new, inexpensive way of getting the two fluids apart again. This new approach uses membranes with hierarchical pore structures. The membranes combine a very thin layer of nanopores with a thicker layer of micropores to limit the passage of unwanted material while providing strength sufficient to withstand high pressure and throughput.
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Hierarchical Membrane For Cleaning Up Oil Spills

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  • Solved problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by snsh (968808) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @11:08AM (#47368795)

    Easier to follow Exxon's example and dump tons of dispersant into your oil spill, and watch the globs disappear from plain sight.

  • Re:Solved problem (Score:4, Insightful)

    by frinkster (149158) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @11:46AM (#47369123)

    Easier to follow Exxon's example and dump tons of dispersant into your oil spill, and watch the globs disappear from plain sight.

    How this got moderated as Interesting I have no idea - I found it to be quite funny.

    But the truth is that that industrial corporations are very sensitive to economics. Crude oil is very valuable and dispersant is very expensive. Any product that allows them to recover the oil economically will be used extensively.

    The environmental movement really advanced when people started explaining to corporations that pollution was nothing more than raw inputs that they paid for and are now throwing away. A lot of industrial companies have entire divisions dedicated to selling products produced with what used to be stuff they threw out or paid someone to dispose of.

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