An oil spill is not only a massive environmental disaster, it is also a huge public relations disaster for any company. It takes plenty of time and money to make sure that any oil spill is contained, and the amount of negative impact in which it has on resident wildlife is always something to ponder over. Well, the future might just seen nanomachines swooping in to launch a rescue mission in a bid to clean up oil spills. This is made possible thanks to a modification to microscopic submarines, courtesy of Joseph Wang and his team from the University of California, San Diego.
Demonstrating just how extremely tiny machines that are invisible to the naked eye is able to cling on to oil as part of the environmental clean-up action, the micro submarine will first need to be coated with a layer of thiol molecules that double up as a kind of fuel, repelling water and attracting oil simultaneously. This particular micro submarine will be able to zip through a liquid while carrying motor oil droplets with it, showing off the effectiveness of it transporting oil drops in a controlled fashion should there be an oil spill. So far, initial testing has shown this micro submarine to tote olive oil and motor oil effectively.
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