Today we’re uncorking a new method to treat oil spills with cork.

And lasers.

The unbeatable combination!

This may also be a greener combination.

The standard way to clean up an oil spill now is to use chemical dispersants.

They work sort of like how dish soap cleans grease from our dishes and pans.

They can quickly move oil away from the surface of the water where it can harm creatures and ecosystems.

But the chemical dispersants themselves can be harmful to marine life, which is where this cork-based alternative may come in.

According to Interesting Engineering, an international group of researchers was doing some laser experiments and accidentally discovered that zapping cork in a particular way made it really good at repelling water and attracting oil – which is just what you need to take care of an oil spill.

When they tested out sheets of the laser cork, it was able to soak up the spilled oil in minutes – the oil was still usable – and all without any risk to marine life.

Plus, cork is a renewable and inexpensive resource, making this process as cost-effective as it is eco-friendly.

Though hopefully it’s one that we won’t have to use.

Tomorrow is day one of the three day Vermont Maple Festival.

Syrup lovers are coming to St. Albans for pancake breakfasts, sugarhouse tours, music, a road race… there’s even going to be a “sappy art show.”

Trash to titan: Scientists create laser-treated cork that absorbs oil spills (Interesting Engineering) 


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Photo by Steven Miller via Flickr/Creative Commons