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White graphene has emerged as the magic solution for the cleaning industry for its incredible ability to soak up pollutants. The material called ‘Boron nitride’ is similar to graphene that are sheets of atoms laid out like a chain-link fence. The material can preferentially soak up organic pollutants such as industrial chemicals or engine oil. However, it is easier to clean and re-use than other such “nano-materials”. Their surface area-to-weight ratio, allows them to soak up an incredible amount for their size.

The material has been created with a porous structure jointly by the Institute for Frontier Materials at Deakin University in Australia and the Pierre and Marie Curie University in France. The porous version exhibited high “selective absorption and adsorption” — preferentially picking up organic pollutants and dyes out of water. These porous sheets together form a coarse white powder. The powder soaks up as much as 33 times its own weight in the chemical ethylene glycol and 29 times its own weight of engine oil. And still, the saturated powder floats on water. The pollutants could then be driven out of the nooks and crannies of the material by heating it in a commercial furnace.

 

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