Thursday, August 14, 2014

Magnetize the oil to fight against oil spills

Magnetize the oil to fight against oil spills

An American physicist famous Fermilab has filed a patent for an ingenious technique to fight against oil spills. Instead of using surfactants to be safe to the environment in the long term is questionable, it is sufficient to sprinkle oil slicks microparticles of iron. The hydrocarbons may then be recovered using a magnetic field.

On 08/07/2014 at 15:37 - By Laurent Sacco, Futura-Sciences

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules from the army of the United States dropped dispersants on the oil released during the disaster of the Deepwater Horizon, in 2011 the method is not very environmentally friendly even if it is a lesser evil comparison of an oil spill.  © Adrian Cadiz, Wikimedia Commons, DP

Usually Arden Warner handles accelerator physics, that is to say, the problems encountered when packets of particles are accelerated to form stable beams intended to collide. He is a member of Fermilab and his work has had an impact on the hunt for supersymmetric particles and the famous Higgs Brout-Englert-Higgs with the Tevatron . Four years ago, while his wife asked him if there was not an effective way to fight against the oil spill caused by the Deepwater Horizon explosion , the researcher had a bright idea. Why not use magnetic fields to collect the water from oil  ?

Of course, the oil itself is not magnetic, but the physicist wondered if it was not possible to turn it into a kind of ferrofluid . Recall that it is a colloidal solution of nanoparticles ferromagnetic or ferrimagnetic a size of the order of 10 nanometers in a solvent or water. It is the chemist Stephen Papell who performed the first modern synthesis of a ferrofluid by mixing powdered magnetite in the kerosene , so the gasoline from oil , in the presence of acid oleic. There are spectacular vector showing the action of a magnetic field on a ferrofluid which behaves as a kind of magnetic liquid magnetized.