Crude oil spills can be absorbed by low grade cotton
According a research conducted by the Nonwovens and Advance Materials Laboratory at the Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH) at Texas Tech Institute proves that low grade cotton absorbs crude oil spills effectively. The project was financed in part by Cotton Incorporated
The study has been published in the latest issue of the American Chemical Society journal and reveals that one pound of low-micronaire cotton can absorb more than 30 pounds of dense crude oil. In addition, the natural content of wax in the raw unprocessed cotton fibre keeps water out, making cotton an efficient and effective material for addressing ocean based oil spills.
Dr. Seshardri Ramkumar, lead author of the study and manager of the Nonwovens and Advanced Laboratory at TIEHH stated: “he and his team found that low-micronaire cotton, – one of the lowest qualitx types of cotton – is highly effective at picking up oil”. About 10 % of the cotton grown in wEst Texas is low micronaire, and Ramkumar adds “it doesn’t take a dye well, so it has little value as a textile fibre, but because it is less mature, more of it can be packed into a given area. We show through sophisticated testing that low micronaire cotton is much finer and can pick-up more crude oil. In contrast to synthetic sorbents, raw unprocessed cotton with its high sorption capacity and positive environmental footprint make it an ecological friendly sorbent for oil spill cleanups.