Cotton offers a new ecologically friendly way to clean up oil spills
With the Deepwater Horizon disaster emphasizing the need for better ways of cleaning up oil spills, scientists are reporting that unprocessed, raw cotton may be an ideal, ecologically friendly answer, with an amazing ability to sop up oil. Their report, which includes some of the first scientific data on unprocessed, raw cotton's use in crude oil spills, appears in the ACS journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.
Seshadri Ramkumar and colleagues note that a particular need exists for oil-spill sorbents that are abundantly available at relatively low cost, sustainable and biodegradable. There have been extensive studies on fibers such as barley straw, kapok and wool -- but big gaps in knowledge about their basic crude oil-uptake mechanisms and no data on unprocessed raw cotton. Ramkumar's team decided to fill those gaps with research on the oil sorption properties of low micronaire cotton, a form of unprocessed cotton with relatively less commercial value.
They report that each pound of the material has the ability to sop up and hold more than 30 pounds of crude oil. The cotton fibers take up oil in multiple ways, including both absorption and adsorption (in which oil sticks to the outer surface of the cotton fiber). "In contrast to synthetic sorbents, raw cotton with its high crude oil sorption capacity and positive environmental footprint make it an ecologically friendly sorbent for oil spill cleanups," the report concludes.
The authors acknowledge funding from the Texas State Support Program of Cotton Incorporated and The CH Foundation.
Source: American Chemical Society
- Low-grade cotton offers more ecologically-friendly way to clean oil spillsfrom Science DailyThu, 16 May 2013, 16:00:56 EDT
- Low-Grade Cotton Offers More Ecologically-Friendly Way to Clean Oil Spillsfrom Newswise - ScinewsThu, 16 May 2013, 13:00:50 EDT
- Cotton offers a new ecologically friendly way to clean up oil spillsfrom Science DailyWed, 15 May 2013, 17:50:29 EDT
- Cotton offers a new, eco-friendly way to clean up oil spillsfrom Science BlogWed, 15 May 2013, 15:20:18 EDT
- Cotton offers a new ecologically friendly way to clean up oil spillsfrom PhysorgWed, 15 May 2013, 11:49:19 EDT
Latest Science NewsletterGet the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!
Check out our next project, Biology.Net
From other science news sites
Popular science news articles
- First comprehensive analysis of the woolly mammoth genome completed
- Seahorse tails could inspire new generation of robots
- New study shows South Africans using milk-based paint 49,000 years ago
- Human brain study by UCLA and UK researchers sheds light on how new memories are formed
- A tale of 2 (soil) cities