can aerogels help clean up toxic spills? - highly absorbent
For example, the morning fumbling will make you better, with half a pint of milk splashing on the kitchen floor instead of in a cereal bowl. What do you do?
Assuming that pets at home don't suddenly eat the most delicious accidental breakfast ever, you may want to suck out all the spilled milk with a towel or sponge.
But when a big leak hits our environment, scientists think that the best sponge is made of an air gel.
Density solid, similar to the cross between a piece of jelly
A brick of smoke.
The normal gel is essentially a solid filled with small holes called nanoholes, which are filled with liquid in turn.
However, the gas gel has a nano-hole filled with gas.
Chemists create this property by drying alcohol
At temperatures and pressures that exceed the critical point, the supercritical state of the gel is based. (
This is the moment when the liquid becomes the same as its steam. )
The porous structure still exists when alcohol evaporates. Still curious?
There is more information on how the gas gel works.
The resulting material is the lightest solid on Earth, and it is not just an antique.
Taking into account all the trapped gas inside, the air gel has a good thermal insulation effect on both the ground and the off-ground heat.
That's why NASA uses this substance to isolate the Mars probe, and even uses an air gel cube to capture tiny particles of comet dust.
The air gel has high absorption.
Remember that since all the space in the sponge structure is empty, the normal sponge can hold water.
Water or spilled milk just replaces the air.
The air gel is mainly air, so the absorption capacity is greater.
In fact, the gas gel is usually 95 to 99.
5% porous [source: NASA].
The main problem, however, is that scientists have to specifically customize the gas gel to retain specific liquids.
At present, the production of air gel is small, the cost is high, the large-scale production is prohibited, but some scientists believe that
It turns out that the absorbent gas gel is particularly useful in cleaning up the oil spill. While chemical-
The gas gel provides a pure physical technique that may make the oil unusable based on the cleaning method.
The oil company can wring the sponge and then use the captured oil.
Some researchers believe that air gel particles can be used in filters to remove other toxic contaminants from air and water.
Water filters, for example, often rely on activated carbon to absorb chemical impurities.
This is just an adsorption charcoal filter with a slight positive charge to attract the anion in harmful chemicals.
This filter works well, but experiments have shown that the air gel can absorb 130 times more contaminants than [activated carbon]source: Lerner].
The gas gel of the future can not only prevent toxic leaks, but also help clean up in the worst case.
For now, however, we will have to rely on more traditional, less costly filtering and absorption methods.