IIT Guwahati Develops Device To Separate Oil From Water

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Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati Researchers have developed two distinct and special membranes that can separate oil and water, even under harsh conditions.

The membranes that are super-water repellent in air, and super oil-repellent in water, can separate complex mixtures of oil and water at practically relevant settings. Oil-water separation is all the more important considering its environmental applications like oil spill management.

Reportedly, the research led by Dr Uttam Manna, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, IIT Guwahati along with his research team Mr Avijit Das, Ms Dibyangana Parbat and Ms Arpita Shome was published in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.

Speaking on the need to develop materials that can separate oil and water, Dr Uttam Manna said, “Oil-water separation is of current relevance because many industries, such as mining, textiles, food and petrochemicals, produce massive volumes of oily wastewater, which must be treated before discharge.”

Dr Manna added, there is yet another problem with conventional demonstration, where the superhydrophobic and superoleophobic materials are mostly used for two-phase oil-water mixtures. However, those approaches are inappropriate for separation of three-phase mixtures of heavy oil, light oil and water,”

Explaining the design of the device Dr Manna said “These separation systems allow continuous, parallel and selective separation of various oil/water mixtures, irrespective of surface tension, density, and viscosity of the oil phase and chemical complexity in the water phase,”

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