Oil spills are considered to be a major environmental disaster, being a slippery substance by itself whenever it is on a microscope slide or when it is leaked into the ocean. In fact, it costs a whole lot to clean up an oil spill, but what is worse would be the negative impact on the environment. Since prevention is always better than cure, how about utilizing special surfaces which were specially designed in order for it to counteract oil’s naturally low surface tension? This is exactly what the researchers over at the University of Missouri have worked on, by developing a method so that it can control the unpredictable liquid.
Known as “virtual walls”, this creation by Missouri engineers might eventually consign oil spills to history. Professor Jae Kwon Kwon and graduate student Riberet Almeida of Missouri’s school of engineering work have plenty of faith in their material which they hope would eventually lower the chances of oil spills. Kwon shared, “Our newly developed surface helped keep oil, which is normally unmanageable, in predetermined pathways making it controllable. We feel that oil-repellant surfaces can be widely utilized for many industrial applications, and virtual walls for low-surface tension liquids also have immense potential for many lab-on-a-chip devices which are crucial to current and future research technique.”