New magnetic soap could clean oil spills

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After we saw how the cruise ship Costa Concordia was humbly turned over to her side by a small coral, people immediately thought about the tons and tons of oil the Concordia was carrying with her and how it could affect the small island of Gigli and its surrounding waters if the oil escapes from the tanks and goes to the sea.

Well, scientists from the University of Bristol in UK have found a way to minimize the effect of oil spill in the ocean. They have created a magnetic soap that has the potential to clean oil spills.

According to the Angewandte Chemie chemistry journal, the researchers discovered this soap by dissolving iron atoms. This gives the soap particles a metallic center, into a chlorine and bromine solution that is similar to the once we see in mouthwashes and fabric softeners.

The group tested the magnetic properties by inserting a magnet into a test tube that contains a soap solution, water, and oil. They found out that the soap was able to rise through the water and oil to reach the magnet.

Professor Julian Eastoe and his team say that the soap’s magnetic properties enables it to easier absorb and remove from a system and it has less effect on the environment.

According to Eastoe, “From a commercial point of view, though these exact liquids aren’t yet ready to appear in any household product, by proving that magnetic soaps can be developed, future work can reproduce the same phenomenon in more commercially viable liquids for a range of applications from a treatment to industrial cleaning products.”

Image source: en.wikipedia.org