Nanosponges soak up oil again and again

Rice University graduate student Daniel Hashim holds samples of a carbon nanotube-based sponge that holds great potential for cleaning up oil spills. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)






Rice University graduate student Daniel Hashim burns oil out of a sponge-like material made of carbon nanotubes and a dash of boron. The sponge can soak up oil, which can then be burned off and the sponge reused. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)






This carbon nanotube sponge created at Rice University can hold more than 100 times its weight in oil. Oil can be squeezed out or burned off, and the sponge reused. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)










The superhydrophobic carbon nanotube sponge shows a remarkable ability to soak up oil from water. Researchers found that adding boron to the growth process creates covalent bonds in the nanotubes, making dense networks with robust qualities. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)


Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is known for its “unconventional wisdom.” With 3,708 undergraduates and 2,374 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 4 for “best value” among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to .