Scientists have devised a stainless steel mesh to clean-up oil spillages and to help minimise the environmental impact that oil spills cause.The Mesh works as a filter due to the fact that water molecules are smaller than oil molecules, letting the water through whilst blocking the oil. The mesh is then coated with an oil repelling coating.
The mesh was developed through nanotechnology. For this, silica based nanoparticles (formed from glass) were sprayed onto a stainless steel mesh to create a series of microscopic bumps. This coating is only a few hundred nanometers (billionths of a meter) thick. The scientists behind the project were inspired by lotus leaves, which have irregular ad bumpy surfaces that function to repel water.
By using this mesh, at a cost of only $1 per square foot, large quantities of oil can be filtered and collected for safe disposal.
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