Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First 'microsubmarines' designed to help clean up oil spills

Date:
May 2, 2012
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Scientists are reporting development and successful testing of the first self-propelled "microsubmarines" designed to pick up droplets of oil from contaminated waters and transport them to collection facilities. The report concludes that these tiny machines could play an important role in cleaning up oil spills, like the 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico.

Oil spill.
Credit: © Focusedone / Fotolia

Scientists are reporting development and successful testing of the first self-propelled "microsubmarines" designed to pick up droplets of oil from contaminated waters and transport them to collection facilities. The report concludes that these tiny machines could play an important role in cleaning up oil spills, like the 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico.

It appears in the journal ACS Nano.

Joseph Wang and colleagues explain that different versions of microengines have been developed, including devices that could transport medications through the bloodstream to diseased parts of the body. But no one has ever shown that these devices -- which are about 10 times smaller than the width of a human hair -- could help clean up oil spills. There is an urgent need for better ways of separating oil from water in the oceans and inside factories to avoid releasing oil-contaminated water to the environment. Wang's team developed so-called microsubmarines, which require very little fuel and move ultrafast, to see whether these small engines could help clean up oil.

Tests showed that the cone-shaped microsubmarines can collect droplets of olive oil and motor oil in water and transport them through the water. The microsubs have a special surface coating, which makes them "superhydrophobic," or extremely water-repellent and oil-absorbent. "These results demonstrate the potential of the superhydrophobic-modified microsubmarines for facile, rapid and highly efficient collection of oils in oil-contaminated water samples," say the researchers.

The authors acknowledge funding from the National Science Foundation, NATO Science for Peace and Security Program, Spanish MICINN, Beatriu de Pinós (Government of Catalonia) and University of Alcalá (Madrid).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Maria Guix, Jahir Orozco, Miguel García, Wei Gao, Sirilak Sattayasamitsathit, Arben Merkoçi, Alberto Escarpa, Joseph Wang. Superhydrophobic Alkanethiol-Coated Microsubmarines for Effective Removal of Oil. ACS Nano, 2012; 120410090310005 DOI: 10.1021/nn301175b

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "First 'microsubmarines' designed to help clean up oil spills." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120502123435.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2012, May 2). First 'microsubmarines' designed to help clean up oil spills. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120502123435.htm
American Chemical Society. "First 'microsubmarines' designed to help clean up oil spills." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120502123435.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) — Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — Suni, a rare northern white rhino at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, died Friday. This, as many media have pointed out, leaves people fearing extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beijing Marathon Runners Brave Hazardous Air Pollution

Beijing Marathon Runners Brave Hazardous Air Pollution

AFP (Oct. 19, 2014) — Tens of thousands of runners battled thick smog at the Beijing Marathon on Sunday, with some donning masks as the levels of PM2.5 small pollutant particles soared to 16 times the maximum recommended level. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
As Sweden Hunts For Sub, "Cold War" Comparisons Flourish

As Sweden Hunts For Sub, "Cold War" Comparisons Flourish

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) — With Sweden on the look-out for a suspected Russian sub, a lot of people are talking about the Cold War, but is it an apt comparison? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins