Oil spill happens occasionally, and its cleanup is usually challenging especially at low temperatures. Paraffin waxes in crude oil would crystallise to form a surface layer and block the liquid oil droplet inside, which decreases the capability of advanced oil spill cleanup measures, such as absorption by sponges. In this paper, Pavani, Wei and coauthors effectively resolved this challenge by coating a polyester polyurethane sponge with nanoscale silicon capped with paraffin-like, octadecyl ligands, achieving up to 99% absorption of oil from water at low temperatures. See full story at Science Advances.
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