Gallery: Super-Insulator Aerogel Could Be Used to Soak Up Oil

 

Not only does the space-age material Aerogel have super-insulating powers — it is also remarkably effective at soaking up oil. AeroClay, one of the makers of the insulation, is currently working on a new sponge-version of aerogel that would be more effective at cleaning up spills — since the material has such a low density, there’s lots of pockets that can soak up oil. Unfortunately, the material probably won’t be ready to help clean up the Gulf of Mexico spill, but the company hopes that within a couple years they will have large sheets of the aerogel sponge that could be used to clean up oil slicks.

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