1.What is a sorbent?
Sorbents are materials that soak up oil from the water. They can use either absorption or adsorption. Absorption allows oil to actually penetrate into the sorbent itself through pores. Adsorption attracts the oil to the surface of the sorbent, but does not allow it to enter. Sorbents, in order to be most effective, must attract the oil and repel the water.
Sorbents can be either natural organic, natural inorganic, or synthetic. Natural organic sorbents include peat moss, sawdust, feathers, and anything else natural that contains carbon. Natural inorganic sorbents include stuff like clay, sand or even volcanic ash (who would've thought?). Synthetic sorbents are man-made, and include substances like polyethylene and nylon. Sorbents usually work well--unless they fill up with water. If that happens, the sorbent can sink and you have a big mess!
Sorbent being tested at the Ohmsett basin
Did you know that there are some common household items that can be used to clean up an oil spill? Check it out!
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