clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Magnetic soap may aid oil cleanups

New, 14 comments

Researchers at the University of Bristol have made a soap that is magnetic. The iron-laden soap could be used in oil cleanups to help reduce the environmental impact caused by natural disasters.

Soap Bubbles (Flickr)
Soap Bubbles (Flickr)

Scientists at Bristol University say they've made a new soap that's magnetic. Why would you want magnetic soap? Well, the researchers say that the discovery could lead the way for better control of environmentally-hazardous materials in commercial and consumer applications, such as oil cleanups. What makes this soap unique is that after it's used to collect oil any excess soap could be easily removed with magnets, helping to reduce contamination to the ecosystem. The soap gets its magnetic abilities from iron clusters that the researchers were able form in the product's particles. It doesn't look like the the soap is quite ready for primetime — in a video demonstration the magnet was nearly in direct contact before the material was attracted to it — but hopefully this will be something that makes it out of the labs and into the real world.