Addressing Oil Spill Cleanup Using Hydrophobic Meshes

Jorge Molinero, Amphos 21, Spain

Engineers at Amphos 21 tested a new solution for different oil spill scenarios, hydrophobic meshes, with numerical simulation. The meshes are made of steel or copper and a hydrophobic polymer coating that filters the oil from the water. Using COMSOL Multiphysics® software, they modeled the mesh as a porous medium coupled with two-phase flow to calculate the oil saturation level, flux rates for the oil and water, and fraction of water mixed with oil that passed through the mesh. They converted the model to an app, which allows end users to test the performance of the mesh in different scenarios.

A simulation app showing how fractional water flow (left) and oil flux through the mesh (right) vary with wire radius and water depth.