Seshadri Ramkumar, an associate professor of nonwoven technologies, said the Texas Tech-created nonwoven cotton absorbent wipe with activated carbon core makes it a perfect remediation tool for use by cleaning crews trying to remove the toxic material.
Not only did it clean up the rust-colored crude oil, but also it adsorbed toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon vapors reportedly sickening oil spill clean-up crew members.
“It definitely has proven itself a perfect product for cleaning up the oil spill,” Ramkumar said. “This preliminary test in Louisiana has shown that our wipe material is unique from others in that it easily absorbs liquids, and it has vapor-holding capacity. This will help workers clean beaches and stay safe at the same time.”
Ramkumar said his latest research shows raw cotton-carbon Fibertect® can absorb oil up to 15 times its weight. Unlike synthetic materials like polypropylene that are currently used in many oil containment booms, Fibertect® is made from environmentally friendly raw cotton and carbon.
Amit Kapoor is president of First Line Technology, which distributes Fibertect® commercially. Though the product has been tested in the lab with raw crude and motor oil, he said the company wanted to field-test the product.
Earlier this week, he sent a sales representative, who also works as an independent contractor for BP, to one of the worst-hit areas.
“We wanted to test the effectiveness of Fibertect® on the crude oil for beach cleanup,” Kapoor said. “Fibertect® was taken to the empty beaches of Grand Isle, and then laid out on top of a blob of oil that had settled on the beach. It worked very well in absorbing and containing the oil. The glob stuck to the Fibertect® and did not release from the material.”
Though Kapoor said he had seen Fibertect® pick up similar material with a pasty consistency, such as petroleum jelly, the results shocked the sales representative sent to run the experiment.
“Our representative was shocked because he hadn’t seen a product work like that with the speed or the effectiveness,” Kapoor said. “He showed many other contractors that were working on the beach and they were impressed as well.”
Fibertect® was approved for use as a sorbent by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Ramkumar said. The product already has proven that it can also adsorb toxic fumes associated with chemical remediation, he said. Evaluation by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory found that it can retain offgassing mustard vapors efficiently and does not shed loose particles.
Originally developed to protect the U.S. military from chemical and biological warfare agents, Fibertect® contains a fibrous activated carbon center that is sandwiched between layers.
The top and bottom layers, made from raw cotton, can absorb oil while the center layer holds volatile compounds such as the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or blistering agents such as mustard vapors or other toxic chemicals.
“Fibertect® already has proven to be effective in the bulk decontamination of chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals, but our proposal here is to use it to aid in the clean-up efforts in the Gulf,” Kapoor said. “Fibertect® allows for a green, environmentally safe, biodegradable technology that is perfect for the expanding effort to protect and decontaminate coastal lands and wildlife. We welcome the opportunity to work with the government, BP or anyone else in a joint effort to defend and preserve our planet.”
CONTACT: Seshadri Ramkumar, associate professor of nonwoven technologies, The Institute of Environmental and Human Health, Texas Tech University, (806) 885-4567, or firstname.lastname@example.org; Amit Kapoor, president, First Line Technology, (703) 995-7510 email@example.com
John Davis | Newswise Science News
Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel
Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
20.02.2018 | Life Sciences
20.02.2018 | Medical Engineering
20.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy