We talk about oil and fuel absorbents all the time – how amazing they are and the difference they make to cleaning up spills.
But why? What’s so great about them and what’s this magic behind why they work the way they do?
Oil and fuel absorbents are unique – they have been designed to absorb only a select range of liquids, namely anything that’s hydrocarbon based.
This is important, as hydrocarbons (think oil, fuel, diesel, oil-based paints etc) are extremely harmful to the environment, and some are dangerous due to their highly flammable nature.
Often when hydrocarbons are spilled, water or other liquids are present. This is not ideal when you’re cleaning up a spill in the rain or if the oil has spilled into a sump or waterway. You really need to be capturing the damaging hydrocarbons instead of any water that’s present.
Oil and fuel absorbents have been designed to repel water, eliminating the aforementioned problem. They are known as hydrophobic…i.e. they hate water. The fibres of poly oil and fuel absorbents are woven in such a way that they will easily capture any hydrocarbons, but won’t allow any water in. Very, very clever.
Poly oil and fuel absorbents have been developed in a variety of different form factors to suit different applications. Pads are the most popular – these are single-use squares of absorbent material which area available in either standard or heavy duty thickness. They are similar to a cloth, however more rigid so as to be able to hold up to 20 times their own weight in liquid. This material is also available on a large roll which can then be cut off to size depending on how it’s to be used or as a mat, which is pre-cut but quite a bit larger than just a pad.
These poly oil and fuel absorbents are also made into booms (think of a draught excluder/stopper that you use against a door) which are excellent to contain a spill which is creeping, or into pillows which are your number one tool to absorb any pooled liquids.
Larger, brightly coloured oil and fuel absorbent marine booms are also available, to help out with larger spills on inland water (ponds, sumps, lakes, rivers, creeks etc) but they’re a whole other topic best kept for another day.
Peat is also an outstandingly clever oil and fuel absorbent floorsweep which is used alongside poly absorbents. Naturally derived, it’s a highly absorbent and bio-active solution for hydrocarbon spills in wet areas. But again, that’s a fascinating topic for another day!
So there you have it folks, hopefully we’ve shed some light on why we think oil and fuel absorbents are amazing and that you now understand why they might fit in to your workplace.