July 1, 2014

Separating finely mixed oil and water

Membrane developed by MIT researchers can separate even highly mixed fine oil-spill residues.

Whenever there is a major spill of oil into water, the two tend to mix into a suspension of tiny droplets, called an emulsion, that is extremely hard to separate — and that can cause severe damage to ecosystems. But MIT researchers have discovered a new, inexpensive way of getting the two fluids apart again.