Friday, October 23, 2015

Industrial Byproducts Suck Mercury from Water

A little bit of serendipitous good news: Australian researchers somehow figured out that combining sulphur and orange oil creates a dark red rubbery substance that binds with mercury. Both materials are byproducts of industrial production (petroleum and citrus, respectively).

Because the material needed to make the polymer is so inexpensive, large quantities can be deployed at a site of contamination, in rivers, lakes and other waterways....

The substance could be used to literally suck up mercury at sites where it is contaminating water.

"We also are thinking about using it as a coating to line pipes and other devices that are used to transport water or it could be used as part of a water filtration device," Dr Chalker said.

The substance changes colour when it comes into contact with and absorbs mercury, which means it could also be used to detect whether waterways are polluted.
Here's what the material looks like when molded to look like a Lego:

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