Few environmental disasters have hit the collective imagination so strongly. oil spill in the sea. We still remember images like the catastrophe caused by Alaska’s Exxon Valdez and Spain’s Prestige, not to mention the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Over 2 million tons of oil are estimated to be spilled into the sea and other bodies of water as a result of industrial processes and oil accidents.There are several ways to deal with oil spills, either mechanical or chemical, but it is worth noting that technology Developed by the University of British Columbia, Canada, this technique offers a different approach. The system they devised clean oil spill,at the same time Clarifying oil mixed with water. This means that in addition to purifying contaminated water, the recovered oil can be used without being thrown away.
Researchers led by chemical engineering student Chun Haou (Brian) Kung have developed a reusable membrane. Constructed of copper mesh, it can be manufactured quickly and cheaply.one time smart membrane When ready for use, immerse in electrolyte and apply current continuously for 2 minutes. A material with a finished surface and copper oxide only allows oil to pass through. But even lower currents (alkaline batteries are sufficient) change the structure of the surface. Here the process is reversed, only water passes through and oil is retained. Afterwards, the original properties are restored simply by drying the membrane.
Current laboratory tests show that the filtration process is 98% efficient regardless of oil density or viscosity. In addition to low cost production and low maintenance, the membrane has proven to be highly durable as it retains all its properties intact after her 30 filter cycles. The developers of this technology point to a wide range of uses for this technology. InnovationThis includes cleanup of oil spills as well as cleanup of fuels and fuels. Wastewater treatment.
Besides these copper-based structures, there are also other projects working to develop more efficient filtration membranes. One of them is based on the following principle: biomimetic, inspired by the structure of the mouth of a fish that feeds on filtered bait. The throat bony arches of these species narrow and become more closely spaced as they progress deeper as they filter the food of floating prey.
of technology It consists of a steel mesh divided into five sections with pore widths that gradually narrow from 150 nanometers to 30 nanometers.of biomimetic membrane Furthermore, it is covered with a layer of cobalt oxide, which is hydrophilic. Therefore, when used in a cleaning net, the wider pores allow water to pass through while the oil particles migrate to the upper region where they flood the collector. The main advantage of this approach is that the normal clogging of filters is minimized.