Nylon 6,6 Nonwoven Fabric Separates Oil Contaminates from Oil-in-Water Emulsions

Abstract

Industrial oil spills into aquatic environments can have catastrophic environmental effects. First responders to oil spills along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in the southern United States have used spunbond nylon fabric bags and fences to separate spilled oil and oil waste from contaminated water. Low area mass density spunbond nylon is capable of sorbing more than 16 times its mass in low viscosity crude oil and more than 26 times its mass in higher viscosity gear lube oil. Nylon bags separated more than 95% of gear lube oil contaminate from a 4.5% oil-in-water emulsion. Field testing of spunbond nylon fences by oil spill first responders has demonstrated the ability of this material to contain the oily contaminate while allowing water to flow through. We hypothesize that the effectiveness of nylon as an oil filter is due to the fact that it is both more oleophilic and more hydrophilic than other commonly used oil separation materials. The nylon traps oil droplets within the fabric or on the surface, while water droplets are free to flow through the fabric to the water on the opposite side of the fabric.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0158493

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Ortega2016Nylon6N, title={Nylon 6,6 Nonwoven Fabric Separates Oil Contaminates from Oil-in-Water Emulsions}, author={Ryan A Ortega and Erin S Carter and Albert E Ortega}, booktitle={PloS one}, year={2016} }