This piece of steel mesh doesn’t look like much but it might be one of the only things that can separate oil from water. The mesh allows water to go through, but it causes oil to float on top, thanks to an oil-repelling coating on the surface. Researchers mixed water and oil together and then poured the mixture (well, as well as it could be mixed) through the material. The oil was collected on the top of the material and could then be collected in a beaker separately from the water. This type of coating is under development at Ohio State University and is part of a suite of nature inspired nanotechnologies according to This discovery could eventually lead to great strides in the clean-up techniques of oil spills, which endanger wildlife and the environment on a near daily basis.


Images via Ohio State University