When an oil spill occurs in a laboratory, the spill must be contained as soon as possible to prevent them from escalating into a major chemical or fire hazard. Labs have oil spill kits that include personal protective equipment, oil spill absorbents and waste disposal bags.
Oil Spill Absorbents
Manufacturers make them from organic, inorganic and synthetic materials. They make organic absorbents from materials found in nature, such as feathers, sugarcane pulp and even corncobs. On the other hand, they manufacture inorganic absorbents from inflammable materials such as clay and sand.
Synthetic absorbents, meanwhile, are from fabricated fibres that are capable of absorbing oil while repelling water. People often use synthetic materials such as nylon and plastics as absorbent.
When selecting oil spill absorbents, pay careful attention to the materials they are made of. The best absorbents used for oil spills are oleophilic and hydrophobic, meaning that they attract oil while repelling water.
Absorbents made from organic materials are usually not hydrophobic, so they tend to absorb water along with oil. This makes them better suited for cleaning in dry environments.
Manufacturers design absorbents made from synthetic materials to float and they make them from hydrophobic materials, making them excellent choices for cleaning spills in wet environments.
Other Factors to Consider
Many factors determine what type of oil absorbent is best for a given use case. Aside from material and environment, you must also take into consideration the kind of oil that one can potentially spill.
Absorbents tend to work better with lighter oils, whereas heavier oils are more likely to stick to the surface of the absorbent rather than be absorbed into it. Method of disposal is another factor that needs that needs consideration when choosing an oil spill absorbent.
Organic absorbents are easier to dispose of through incineration. However, this often not the case with synthetic or inorganic absorbents as incineration may release toxic fumes into the vicinity of the incinerator.
When in doubt, check local state and federal waste disposal regulations. You can ask these offices for any other information that you require.