At a glance 1 min

The magic anti-oil spill sponge

The magic anti-oil spill sponge
The magic anti-oil spill sponge

Researchers at an American centre have developed a small sponge that could solve the problem of oil spills, as it is able to absorb oil without absorbing water.

Very obviously christened Oleo, this magic sponge is made from polyurethane or polyimide foam coated with metallic oxides, which is water-repellent (covered in molecules that will attract the oil). In full-scale tests conducted in December, the sponge was used in basins, in which oil had been spilled, and it was able to absorb 90 times its own weight: the scientists at the National Laboratory of Argonne in the United States then simply had to wring the precious sponge to recover the no less precious liquid. One of Oleo's other advantages is that it can be re-used, unlike other materials used for oil leaks and spills. 

However, one factor remains unknown: can the sponge function at depth, under high pressure? 
In any case, the Oleo sponge could be used on board oil tankers or oil platforms in the form of large absorbent blankets, for the purpose of containing possible leaks and thus avoid larger disasters, or simply to clean up port areas.

If you enjoyed this article, you'll love the next!
  • Canibal, the waste eater
    At a glance 1 min
    Canibal, the waste eater

    Canibal is an original, intelligent and fun waste disposal unit for containers of drinks consumed outdoors. With the appearance of a coffee vending machine, it takes cans, small bottles of PET or coff...

  • Dial, a small bracelet that can save lives!
    At a glance 2 min
    Dial, a small bracelet that can save lives!

    Dial, an individual alert and geolocation system designed by renowned designer Philippe Starck and developed by Sauveteur en Mer (SNSM) has just been launched in France. It is a flexible orange silico...

  • Invisible Solar : the magic roof tile
    At a glance 2 min
    Invisible Solar : the magic roof tile

    Since the start of summer, an Italian company has been producing traditional-looking roof tiles containing an invisible and innovative photovoltaic device. Although photovoltaic panels can be easil...