There is no better testing ground for Texas Tech University’s Fibertect®, a cotton nonwoven wipe with an activated carbon core, than Grand Isle, La., where crude oil washing up on pristine white sand beaches is destroying tourism and making cleanup workers ill. Fibertect’s first field test showed that it successfully absorbed up to 15 times its weight in oil and also adsorbed polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which may be one component of toxic vapors reportedly sickening cleanup crews.
Hobbs Bonded Fibers, Waco, Texas, manufactures the cotton-carbon nonwoven and First Line Technology LLC, Washington, D.C., distributes Fibertect commercially. Activated carbon, which holds volatile chemicals, is sandwiched between two sheets of cotton nonwoven material. The field tests involved using the wipe on jelly-like globs of oil on Grand Isle’s beach, and the glob stuck to Fibertect, shocking the sales representative conducting the experiment at how quickly it picked up the oil. The wipes are environmentally safe and made of renewable material, “perfect for the expanding effort to protect and decontaminate coastal lands and wildlife,” says Amit Kapoor, president, First Line Technology.
For more information on the Fibertect® technology in an interview with Texas Tech’s Seshadri Ramkumar, read “Discover the potential of natural fibers,” also from the August 2010 issue of Specialty Fabrics Review.