It has been eight years since the crude oil spill in the Mexico Gulf, but the shadow of aquatic petroleum contamination has never been far away. To battle this hard-to-clean-up environmental mess, scientists in China have come up with a novel wood-based material that can sponge away oil.
A piece of wood is nothing like a sponge. But using a light-weight, tropical wood material, the researchers removed its lignin and hemicellulose content via a chemical treatment and obtained a flexible, hollow, and lamella cellulose structure. After coating the interior of the wood sponge with hydrophobic molecules, the grease magnet can selectively absorb 41 gram of oil versus 1 gram of water. Also, the sponge is highly reusable-- simply apply compression, the trapped content would be squeezed out and it is ready to soak up more oil.
Source: ACS via Youtube