A Texas Tech University research team has discovered that low-grade cotton made into an absorbent nonwoven mat is capable of collecting up to 50 times its own weight in oil.
The results were published online in the July edition of the American Chemical Society's journal Industry & Engineering Chemistry Research. The team, led by Seshadri Ramkumar, a professor in the Department of Environmental Toxicology, hopes this becomes an efficient tool to help with the clean-up of oil spills.
"With the 2010 crude oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which resulted in the major spill of about 4.9 million barrels of oil, it became apparent that we needed new clean-up technologies that did not add stress to the environment," Ramkumar told Texas Tech Today. "This incident triggered our interest in developing environmentally sustainable materials for environmental remediation."