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Turning oil slicks at sea into harmless rubber goo

Oil slicks threatening coastlines and wildlife could in the future be turned into wads of rubber and scooped up in nets. Scientists with BP (British Petroleum) say they have successfully treated all kinds of oil this way and hope the treatment can be widely available by the end of next year.

The technique involves spraying the oil slick with an artificial liquid rubber chemical and a curing agent, which dissolve the oil and form a sponge whose microscopic three-dimension al structure holds the oil.

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