Tomsk, Russia – Scientists at Tomsk Polytechnic University, in collaboration with the University of Lille in France, have developed a novel material to purify water contaminated with oil. It is based on a household polyurethane sponge.
The team modified the sponge to make it superhydrophobic. This means it repels water, while still taking up molecules of oil-based products. This was done by heating the sponge to 60°C in the presence of diazonium salts. The sponge was left with hydrophobic groups on its surface, which act as selective sorbents for oil molecules