Purdue membrane technology could help cleanup oil spills

Jun 04, 2010 by Cynthia Sequin

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new type of membrane that separates oil from water developed by Purdue University material engineers may be used to clean up oil spills such as BP's massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Jeffrey Youngblood, a Purdue assistant professor of materials engineering, has created technology that could eventually be used to help with environmental cleanups. The technology could be used for a variety of other applications, including water purification and industrial uses.

The new technology, which is being licensed through the Purdue Research Foundation's Office of Technology Commercialization, would last longer than conventional filters for separating oil from water and works by attracting water while beading oil, traits that are usually mutually exclusive.

Researchers have tested the materials with solutions containing oil suspended in water, similar to concentrations existing in and other environmental cleanup circumstances.

"Oil dispersed in water and then run through these filters is resulting in a 98 percent separation," Youngblood said.

Such also might be used in other situations, such as removing oil from a ship's bilge water or cleaning contaminated with oil.

Explore further: Turning waste from rice, parsley and other foods into biodegradable plastic

Related Stories

Simple way to remove oil from water

Aug 05, 2005

Australian researchers say they have devised a simple tank-and-siphon system for removing oil from oily water to protect the environment.

Recommended for you

Testing the shelf-life of nuclear reactors

4 hours ago

Researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls and TerraPower based in Bellevue, Washington, have demonstrated the power of high-energy beams of ...

User comments : 0