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Electrospun polymer fibres better than non-woven polymer fibres at mopping up oil from oil spills


Electrospun polystyrene shell/polyurethane core fibres made by scientists in China have absorption capacities 2-3 times higher than reported for non-woven polypropylene fibres (widely used to clean up oil spills). Electrospun fibres are an ideal candidate for soaking up oil, as their structure means the oil can fit into the voids between fibres, not just be adsorbed on a surface. The materials are also recyclable, showing comparable oil sorption capacity to polypropylene fibres even after five sorption cycles. Applications could be in oil spill remediation and in removing discarded edible oils from the wastewater system.

Original publication:

J Lin et al, Nanoscale, 2013

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