A closeup of hair follicles and water droplet
               on an aquatic fern 
Aquatic Fern - Nanofur for Oil Spills

Oil spills continue to be a worldwide problem. Such events are a plague on shorelines and animal life. Ocean contamination by oil results from natural seepage, pipelines, oil tankers and drilling operations. Some of the chemicals used in oil cleanup become stubborn pollutants themselves. Sawdust is a safer material for mopping up oil but it quickly becomes saturated with water. 

What is needed is a material which repels water while at the same time attracting oil, and this is found to be the case for several species of floating aquatic ferns. These plants have tiny hairs which readily trap oil droplets while repelling water. The ferns have traditionally been seen as nuisance weeds. Now however, they may be harvested and processed for oil removal. Researchers also produce an artificial polymer plastic called nanofur whose surface mimics that of the aquatic ferns.

It appears that the Creator has supplied the oceans with floating fern plants which naturally soak up oil using their intricate surface structure. We are now copying their ability with new materials to handle man-made oil spills.     

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