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The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been tragic. To help clean up the mess, a team from the University of Pittsburgh have designed a new way to removing oil from water.

It’s made of cotton dipped in a polymer which lets water through but repels oil. Here is a video of it in action.

On a large scale spill such as the Gulf of Mexico, the team envisages making large troughs out of the material and scooping it along the surface of the water. Not only would it clean the water, but the oil collected can recovered and the filter reused.

Hat tip to Carbon-Based Curiosities.