Qingdao, Shangdong – Researchers at Quingdao Science and Technology University claim to have developed a surface modified PU foam that can easily and repeatably absorb crude oil spills.
The researchers make the claims for a foam, modified with titanium dioxide nano-particles, in the American Chemical Society’s Industrial & Engineering Chemical Research journal.
Researchers led by Daxiong Wu say that by using a TiO2 sol, it was possible to change the surface chemistry of polyurethane foam, significantly reducing the hydrophilic nature of the foam. Additionally, the researchers say, that the resulting foam has a rougher surface which helps the foam to absorb more oil.
They claim that foam modified in this way can absorb between 95 and 110 g of spilt oil for each gram of foam with “negligible water uptake under static and dynamic conditions.”
After 12 cycles the foam had 70% of its original oil absorbent capacity, the researchers said.