Nanomagnets corral oil

Scientists may have found a clever way to clean up oil spills -- with magnets.

By Emily Sohn, 00:00 AM September 15, 2008

You’ve probably seen some of the cool things magnets can do. Place one near a paper clip, and the clip zooms across the table toward the magnet. Hold one magnet near another, and the second one mysteriously darts in the opposite direction. If you didn’t know about science, magnet tricks might seem like magic tricks.

Mineral oil, a lab surrogate for spilled crude (1) is treated with a ferrofluid (2). It's magnetic slurry mixes with the oil (3). When an external magnetic field is applied (4), the ferrofluid and the oil its corralled will move to the magnet.

Mineral oil, a lab surrogate for spilled crude (1) is treated with a ferrofluid (2). It's magnetic slurry mixes with the oil (3). When an external magnetic field is applied (4)...

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