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Inside Science TV Showcases Nature Inspired Research, "Separating Oil from Water"

One day, the nature inspired, groundbreaking research of Bharat Bhushan, Ohio Eminent Scholar, and Philip Brown, postdoctoral researcher, could help clean oil spills.  The research, developed at Ohio State University’s Nanoprobe Laboratory for Bio- and Nanotechnology and Biomimetics, is featured this month by Inside Science TV   Inside Science produces editorially independent research news and information on science, technology, engineering, mathematics and related fields.

The work began more than 10 years ago when Bhushan began building and patenting nano-structured coatings that mimic the texture of the lotus leaf.  Since then, he and his team have worked to amplify the effect and tailor it to different situations. 

“We developed a durable coating that, when applied to a mesh or membrane, can help reduce the environmental impact of various industries by separating oil from water,” Bhushan said.

“Nature reaches a limit of what it can do,” said Brown.  “To repel synthetic materials like oils, we need to bring in another level of chemistry that nature doesn’t have access to.” 

Last November, Bhushan and Brown received an IChemE Global Award recognizing outstanding achievement in chemical and process engineering for their research -- also ranked 42nd in Discover Magazine’s Top 100 Stories of 2015 and named a Top Ten Science Story of 2015 by 52-Insights.