Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology ITT) Guwajati have developed a novel, highly porous and water repellant superhydrophobic cotton composite material containing Metal-Organic Framework (MOF), which can absorb oil selectively from oil-water mixture. The material has a separation efficiency of 95 to 98%, irrespective of the chemical composition and density of the oil. The research was aimed at solving the problem of water pollution. The practical applications of the research include cleaning spilled oil from river, sea, or ocean water. Both heavy and light oils can be effectively absorbed by the material. “In a vast country like India where petroleum hydrocarbons are the major sources of fuel, accidental oil spills frequently occur here during transportation and storage of oils. The material developed in our laboratory will certainly be beneficial to reduce the environmental water pollution by efficiently absorbing the spilled oil from environmental water,” said Dr. Shyum Biswas.

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