New magnetic soap will help recovery from oil spills: Research

Magnetic Soap

With magnets entering almost every other sphere of technology, ever wondered how would they look as soap controller? Professionals from the Bristol University have created a soap that can apparently be regulated by magnets to be used in recovery from oil spills at sea.

This soap constitutes iron rich salts dissolved in water that are responsive to magnetic fields when kept in a solution. The team created this soap by dissolving iron in a series of insert surfactant materials made of chloride and bromide irons, just like those observed in daily mouthwash or fabric conditioners.

The iron involved in the composition is apparently responsible for the creation of metallic centers inside the soap particles. In a trial, a magnet was inserted into a test tube comprising the new soap lying under a less dense organic fluid. As the magnet was introduced, the soap apparently combated both the gravity and surface tension between water and oil, by elevating across the organic solvent and reaching the region of magnetic field.

Hand Held Magnet

Dr Isabelle Grillo, responsible for the Chemistry Laboratories at Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL), commented, “The particles of surfactant in solution are small and thus difficult to see using light but are easily revealed by SANS which we use to investigate the structure and behavior of all types of materials with typical sizes ranging from the nanometer to the tenth of micrometer.”

The scientists highlighted a technique called small angle neutron scattering (SANS) which affirmed that clumping of iron-rich surfactant is responsible for its magnetic traits. The investigators are of the opinion that this soap could have an array of applications in industrial settings with respect to pH and temperature or pressure of a system.

The research is published in Angewandte Chemie.

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