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Nanotechnology Offers Solution for Mexico Gulf Oil Spill Clean-up

A piece of chemically treated cotton cloth is able to separate crude oil from sea water (both from Mexico Gulf) completely within seconds by using gravity alone. It can be developed into various effective tools for cleaning up the oil spill in Mexico Gulf. The treated cloth allows water to path through but not oil. The novel surface chemical treatment method is developed by University of Pittsburgh.

Di Gao, an assistant professor and William Kepler Whiteford Faculty Fellow in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering in Pitt's Swanson School of Engineering, created his filter as a possible method to help manage the spreading oil slick that resulted from the April 20 explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling platform. Gao has submitted his idea through the Deepwater Horizon Response Web site managed by the consortium of companies and government agencies overseeing the disaster response.

Gao focuses his research in the development and application of chemical nanostructures, including liquid-resistant coatings. In 2009, Gao reported in the journal Langmuir his demonstration of a nanoparticle-based solution that can prevent the formation of ice on solid surfaces, from power lines to airport runways and roads.

Run time: 2.11 mins

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