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Researchers at IIT Guwahati develop special membranes that can separate oil from water

Researchers

Guwahati: The researchers at Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati are coming up with new life-changing inventions of late and one such must-naming invention is the development of two distinct and special membranes. As claimed by the researchers, these membranes are capable of separating oil and water however harsh is the condition.

The membranes developed by the researchers are super-water repellent when kept in air and super oil-repellent when kept in water and are capable of separating even the complex mixtures of oil and water. At a time, when the issue of oil mixed in water has created several environmental threats, this new invention by the IIT-G researchers will be relieving and much helpful.

The team of researchers who invented the membranes was led by Dr. Uttam Manna, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry. The team comprised of Mr. Avijit Das, Ms. Dibyangana Parbat and Ms. Arpita Shome. The results of the team’s research have also been published in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.

In order to check whether the membranes will be able to separate oil and water, the team developed a prototype of oil-water separation device by using these membranes and collected mixtures of oil and water in different containers. As expected by the team, they succeeded in separating the two ingredients.

The team leader and head researcher of the team, Dr. Uttam Manna said, “Oil-water separation is of current relevance because many industries, such as mining, textiles, food and petrochemicals, produce massive volumes of oily wastewater, which must be treated before discharge.”

This new invention by the team is going to be of particular help in environmental applications like oil spill management. By far, a lot of studies and researches have been done on the materials and techniques that can be of help in separating oil and water. Scientists have also taken cues from natural elements like the lotus water and fish etc whose body do not get soaked in water. Fish, on the other hand, is capable of repelling oil in order to survive in polluted waters.

 

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