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Magnetic soap could make your next oil spill less oily

Amar Toor, @amartoo
January 24, 2012
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Instead of spending millions upon millions to clean up the next oil spill, why don't we just all pitch in and buy some soap? That's basically what researchers at the University of Bristol are proposing, with a new kind of soap that's apparently like no other. This soap, you see, is magnetic, which means it could be easily removed from water without leaving behind any hazardous chemicals -- a potentially major selling point for cleanup crews and environmentalists alike. To create it, the team collected water with chlorine and bromine ions, and used it to dissolve iron particles, creating a metallic core. They proceeded to test their creation by placing the soapy particles within a test tube, underneath layers of water and oil. Much to their delight, they were able to remove the particles with only a magnet, ostensibly providing a template upon which disaster response crews may build.

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