The magnetic soap that cleans up oil spills

  • Bristol University has developed a soap that could be used to treat oil spills in the future, using a unique magnetic property. The soap (composed of iron rich salts) dissolves in water, and responds to a magnetic field when placed in solution which allows it to be controlled by magnets.
  • This test shows that it is much easier to remove magnetic soaps from mixtures of other liquids, suggesting they could be used in response to environmental disasters such as oil spills, where concerns have been raised about the cleaning substances in use. A magnetic soap could easily be collected after cleaning, reducing the environmental impact.
  • The potential applications of magnetic surfactants are huge. Their responsiveness to external stimuli allows a range of properties, such as their electrical conductivity, melting point, the size and shape of aggregates and how readily it dissolves in water to be altered by a simple magnetic on and off switch.

Its magnetic properties also make it easier to round up and remove from a system once it has been added, suggesting further applications in environmental clean ups and water treatment.

For more information, visit: http://tinyurl.com/7q43uxe; http://tinyurl.com/72ldj6g; http://tinyurl.com/6plw6qa

About Joao Delgado

Joao is a Research Fellow in Futures Research and leads on medium-large scale futures projects at CERF. Amongst other projects, he has led the development of scenarios for the future of river basin management for the Environment Agency. His professional interests include veterinary science, epidemiology, risk and systems thinking.
This entry was posted in Science, Technology and Innovation and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s