Texas A&M researchers concoct nanoparticles to soak up crude oil spills

Darren Murph
D. Murph|09.26.13

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The 2010 Deepwater Horizon may be forgotten to many, but remnants of its destruction still remain in the Gulf of Mexico. Mercifully, it appears that researchers at Texas A&M University "have developed a non-toxic sequestering agent-iron oxide nanoparticles coated in a polymer mesh that can hold up to 10 times their weight in crude oil." In layman's terms, they've engineered a material that can safely soak up oil. As the story goes, the nanoparticles "consist of an iron oxide core surrounded by a shell of polymeric material," with the goal being to soak up leftover oil that isn't captured using conventional mechanical means. The next step? Creating an enhanced version that's biodegradable; as it stands, the existing particles could pose a threat if not collected once they've accomplished their duties.

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