New ‘Sponge’ Material Is Like a ShamWow for Oil Spills

When an oil tanker runs aground or a deep-sea well suffers a leak, millions of gallons of oil can flood into the ocean. Once there, oil slicks can be tremendously difficult to contain, and pose risks to ocean-dwellers and coastlines when they wash ashore in waves of sticky sludge.

Normal containment measures involve burning or skimming the thin layer of oil off of the surface, but these aren’t perfect and pose their own risks. Materials like straw, sand and clay are also used as sorbent

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