A team of Australian and French scientists invented a lightweight and reusable material that can absorb various chemicals up to 33 times its weight. The material is considered a revolutionary "weapon" in the fight against water pollution, a growing problem for the entire planet.
The absorbing nano-strips are made of boron nitride (white graphene) and proved capable of absorbing a considerable amount of oils, chemical solvents and paint – that is, all kinds of chemicals that are usually disposed by the textile, paper or tanning industry. The absorbent material is very porous and can float on water – is waterproof. Once the fabric pieces are left on the surface of polluted water, they instantaneous absorb residues and become dark.
"The process is very fast, in just two minutes the oil leaked into the water was swallowed by nano-strips during testing", explain the authors of the invention. Once saturated, the strips of material can be easily collected from the surface of the water, cleaned by burning, heating or washing, and then re-used even several times. Other materials from this category have a much lower absorption capacity, and those that have a good absorption capacity can not be recycled.
"This new material, and the technology related to the invention, will have a significant impact on the environment, especially as the material is not expensive to produce", explains Professor Ian Chen, co-author of the study that was published in the Nature Communications magazine.