Cleaning Up Oil Spills with Disposable Masks
Elisabeth Day
York House School
Floor Location : J 002 V

Millions of face masks have been thrown away because of the pandemic and hundreds of millions of gallons of oil have been spilt into the ocean. This project solves both these problems. The question that was being solved was: “Can used masks be repurposed to mitigate oil spills and contain oil leaks?”. To test this theory masks were tested to see how much oil and water they can absorb. The method for testing this was submerging the mask in an oil and water mixture then allowing it to float to the top. The results were that masks are an excellent oil absorbent substitute. When there was 10g of oil in the bowl, the mask was absorbing all of the oil. However, when there was 30g of oil, it seemed to be at full capacity and there was still some of the oil left in the bowl. Based on the evidence found in this experiment, masks could be collected from citizens and used as a substitute for cleaning oil spills. This would not only save the environment from further pollution but also save companies a lot of money. These conclusions can be applied to a situation where the masks are wrapping a pipe or when they are being used to soak up an oil spill.