Navigation Links
'Greener' aerogel technology holds potential for oil and chemical clean-up
Date:2/25/2014

MADISON, Wis. Cleaning up oil spills and metal contaminates in a low-impact, sustainable and inexpensive manner remains a challenge for companies and governments globally.

But a group of researchers at the University of WisconsinMadison is examining alternative materials that can be modified to absorb oil and chemicals without absorbing water. If further developed, the technology may offer a cheaper and "greener" method to absorb oil and heavy metals from water and other surfaces.

Shaoqin "Sarah" Gong, a researcher at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID) and associate professor of biomedical engineering, graduate student Qifeng Zheng, and Zhiyong Cai, a project leader at the USDA Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, have recently created and patented the new aerogel technology.

Aerogels, which are highly porous materials and the lightest solids in existence, are already used in a variety of applications, ranging from insulation and aerospace materials to thickening agents in paints. The aerogel prepared in Gong's lab is made of cellulose nanofibrils (sustainable wood-based materials) and an environmentally friendly polymer. Furthermore, these cellulose-based aerogels are made using an environmentally friendly freeze-drying process without the use of organic solvents.

It's the combination of this "greener" material and its high performance that got Gong's attention.

"For this material, one unique property is that it has superior absorbing ability for organic solvents up to nearly 100 times its own weight," she says. "It also has strong absorbing ability for metal ions."

Treating the cellulose-based aerogel with specific types of silane after it is made through the freeze-drying process is a key step that gives the aerogel its water-repelling and oil-absorbing properties.

"So if you had an oil spill, for example, the idea is you could throw this aerogel sheet in the water and it would start to absorb the oil very quickly and efficiently," she says. "Once it's fully saturated, you can take it out and squeeze out all the oil. Although its absorbing capacity reduces after each use, it can be reused for a couple of cycles."

In addition, this cellulose-based aerogel exhibits excellent flexibility as demonstrated by compression mechanical testing.

Though much work needs to be done before the aerogel can be mass-produced, Gong says she's eager to share the technology's potential benefits beyond the scientific community.

"We are living in a time where pollution is a serious problem especially for human health and for animals in the ocean," she says. "We are passionate to develop technology to make a positive societal impact."


'/>"/>
Contact: Shaoqin Gong
sgong@engr.wisc.edu
608-316-4311
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. New study demonstrates the role of urban greenery in CO2 exchange
2. A greener way to fertilize nursery crops
3. Researchers building stronger, greener concrete with biofuel byproducts
4. More food and greener farming with specialised transporters for plants
5. Elevated carbon dioxide making arid regions greener
6. Making hydrogenation greener
7. A greener, more sustainable source of ingredients for widely used plastics
8. Team uses forest waste to develop cheaper, greener supercapacitors
9. Iron-based process promises greener, cheaper and safer drug and perfume production
10. A new species of Oak hidden away in the greenery of Ton Pariwat Wildlife Sanctuary
11. Labor der Zukunft -- Tomorrows laboratory technology
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
'Greener' aerogel technology holds potential for oil and chemical clean-up
(Date:2/3/2016)... --> --> ... Fingerprint Identification System Market by Component (Hardware and Software), ... Finance, Government, Healthcare, and Transportation) and Geography - Global ... expected to be worth USD 8.49 Billion by 2020 ... 2020. The transformation and technology evolution from the manual ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... , Feb. 2, 2016 This ... the bioinformatic market by reviewing the recent advances ... tools that drive the field forward. Includes forecast ... Identify the challenges and opportunities that exist ... and software solution developers, as well as IT ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... 2, 2016  Based on its recent analysis ... recognizes US-based Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems (IRIS) with ... for New Product Innovation. IRIS, a prominent cloud-based ... America , is poised to set the ... retinopathy market. The IRIS technology presents superior price-performance ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/3/2016)... ... February 03, 2016 , ... Aerocom, a world-leading supplier ... the North American healthcare market. , Aerocom Healthcare, LLC will be based in ... will provide new pneumatic tube systems or expand existing systems within the U.S. ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... ... February 03, 2016 , ... Resilinc released online ... analyzes nearly 750 unique supply chain notifications and alerts generated by its ... chain risk management practitioners subscribe to the EventWatch service to receive early warnings ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 03, 2016 , ... ... products to aid in the rapid development and ongoing quality control of molecular ... Virus outbreak is extremely high,” Dr. Gregory R. Chiklis, President and CEO of ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... ... 03, 2016 , ... Big games come and go, but only one will ... country. CereScan, a nationally recognized brain diagnostics and technology company, will join NFL alumni ... vs. NFL Stars Flag Football Game on February 6, 2016. , The event, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: