Hydrophobic Sand is used as a popular kid’s toy (Magic Sand) but is also being investigated for use in oil spill clean-ups and desert agriculture. (Find out more in the comments)


Hydrophobic Sand is used as a popular kid’s toy (Magic Sand) but is also being investigated for use in oil spill clean-ups and desert farming. (Find out more in the remarks)

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2 Comments

  1. This technology was originally created for use in cleaning up oil spills in oceans and waterways. The logic is that the non-polar sand would eventually clump together with the similarly non-polar oil. Eventually, these clumps would become dense enough that they would sink, enabling teams to clean up these mounds of sand and oil below the surface. Although this process has not quite been perfected, Hydrophobic Sand is being found to have uses elsewhere.

    UAE University, and subsequently the UAE government, are investing time, money and research into improving hydrophobic sand in their pursuit to become agriculturally self-sufficient. In desert environments sand holds water very poorly; meaning the water drains deep into the Earth. As a consequence of this, salts from the Earth also rise higher up within the sand line. Current experiments are trying to remedy this by placing a layer of the Hydrophobic Sand under the root systems of the crops, preventing water form leeching deep into the Earth, while simultaneously also preventing salt from rising to the surface. This hopes to reduce water consumption by up to 75% and is a big step in the process of agricultural independence and desert reclamation for middle eastern nations.

  2. Me thinks it’d be much better to transition away from fossil fuels altogether instead of focusing on trying to find ways to mitigate their impact, but what do I know?

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