One of the unwanted byproducts of the oil cracking industry, as well as internal combustion engines (especially diesels), are aromatic hydrocarbons. They're called aromatic because they smell - but some of them are really toxic. We're speaking about solvents like benzene, toluene or xylene (the three are nicknamed BTX).

When there's a problem, people try to find a solution and here comes a group of researchers at the Inorganic Chemistry Department at the Universidad de Granada in Spain. They claim they have created a gel that absorbs BTX, called "carbon monolithic aerogel." Besides a (claimed) high power of absorption, this aerogel can be reused many times, allowing easy disposal of BTX. It's also rattle- and movement-resistant, which would allow easy installation in tailpipes.

This work has been published in specialist magazines "Carbon", "Journal of Physical Chemistry" and "Langmuir".

[Source: Universidad de Granada via Econoticias]