Cottoning on

The Economist - OIL and water do not mix. Allegedly. But try telling that to the clean-up team after an accident at sea involving a tanker or an oil rig. Getting the oil out of the water is awkward, expensive and often involves chemical dispersants. A better approach would be to soak it up using an absorbant solid—in effect, wiping the sea clean with a rag. And that is what Seshadri Ramkumar and Vinitkumar Singh, of Texas Tech University, in Lubbock, hope to do, almost literally. Their plan is to absorb spilled oil with cotton.

OIL and water do not mix. Allegedly. But try telling that to the clean-up team after an accident at sea involving a tanker or an oil rig. Getting the oil out of the water is awkward, expensive and often involves chemical dispersants. A better approach would be to soak it up using an absorbant solid—in effect, wiping the sea clean with a rag. And that is what Seshadri Ramkumar and Vinitkumar Singh, of Texas Tech University, in Lubbock, hope to do, almost literally. Their plan is to absorb spilled oil with cotton.

Read the rest of the story at The Economist