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Problem Addressed

Current methods for handling oil spills (e.g., skimming, burning, sorbents, dispersants) vary in terms of expense and effectiveness, are typically confined to a small area, tend to focus on cleanup at the expense of oil recovery, and can present significant challenges in terms of ease-of-use and safety. The use of selectively wetting substances to separate oil and water is an emerging approach. Modifying surfaces by applying coatings that are hydrophobic and oleophilic allows for the passage of oil while preventing water flow. These coatings, while effective, often lack durability and large-scale economic feasibility. Low-density polyethylene (LDPE)-coated meshes are durable and effective, in addition to being inexpensive to produce and remarkably energy efficient.