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S. Korean team develops graphene-utilized solution to collecting spilled oil

All News 12:00 April 12, 2016

SEOUL, April 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korean scientists have developed a vessel made of the new material graphene that can bring about an important yet basic solution to tackling pollution-causing oil spills, they said Tuesday.

A team of researchers from Seoul National University, led by the school's mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Kim Yong-hyup, devised the autonomous graphene vessel for suctioning and storing the liquid body of spilled oil.

Graphene, a thin layer of pure carbon, is known as a wonder material for its remarkable physical properties and potential applications.

According to the team's research, the graphene vessel selectively separates the oil, then collects and stores the collected oil in the vessel all by itself without any external power inputs.

Capillarity and gravity work together to fill this prototype graphene vessel with the spilled oil at a rate that is higher than 20,000 liters per square meter per hour with oil purity better than 99.9 percent.

The research also showed that when an oil spill occurs in nasty weather and at rough seas, the graphene vessels can be left at the site to collect oil and then picked up later when conditions have returned to normal.

The research results have been published in the online edition of Scientific Reports, a sister publication of the leading British science journal Nature.


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