By imitating how a water strider insect (left) floats between air and water, researchers created a device (right) that floats between oil (pink) and water (colorless), aided by an oil-repellent copper oxide coating. (Source: ACS Nano)
Mydesign, the researchers say that larger devices can also be built, as we report at the end of the article. How large a body of water the current devices can operate in is not clear, nor is it clear how large the water skimming device needs to be. But it doesn't have to be a single device: in fact, it probably makes more sense to deploy multiple devices, considering how widespread oil spills can be.
Ann, research in similar direction is good atleast we can save the life of creatures in sea, in case of oil spills. I think the proto type may work fine with a cup or tub of water having oil spills but how much it's effective in oceans and sea with large quantity of oil spilled over it. Some more innovations has to happen with real time scenarios.
Robs, I think this will help to remove the oil spills in sea, in case of tanker or oil pipe get leaks, which can affect the life of many living parasites in water. We had seen last couple of years many birds, fishes etc lost their lives due to oil spill in Middle East countries.
@notarboca: That's a great application. Anything that can prevent the growth of marine life on the hull not only can help reduce maintenance costs, but also can aid in fuel reduction and maintaining overall performance since that is typically a source of on-going problems.
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An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
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