Nanoparticles and Magnets Offer New, Efficient Method of Removing Oil From Water

UT Austin engineeers separated oil and water in seconds using a magnet and nanoparticles.

UT Austin engineeers separated oil and water in seconds using a magnet and nanoparticles.

October 9, 2017 | Source: The University of Texas at Austin (UT), news.utexas.edu, 8 June 2017, Sandra Zaragoza

When oil mixes with or enters into water, conventional methods of cleaning the water and removing the oil can be challenging, expensive and environmentally risky. But researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin believe they may have developed a better method.

In a study published this spring in the Journal of Nanoparticle Research, the researchers used magnetic nanoparticles to separate oil from water through a simple process that relies on electrostatic force and a magnet. The engineers believe their new technique could improve water treatment for oil and gas production, more efficiently clean up oil spills and potentially remove lead from drinking water.