Sorbent

Definition - What does Sorbent mean?

Sorbent is a type of material which is used in many industries to adsorb and absorb liquids and gas from other materials. It is an insoluble mixture of various materials such as sponge, polypropylene fiber or cellulose fiber and desiccants. The material is also used to clean small oil spills, and remove traces of crude oil or petroleum products from a work area.

Petropedia explains Sorbent

A sorbent material primarily works on the adsorption principle, but less on the absorption principle. In the adsorption scenario, the oil or any liquid is attracted toward the sorbent material’s surface whereas in the absorption scenario, the sorbent material needs to be kept on top of the spilled oil in order to absorb it. In order to combat oil spills in work areas, sorbent materials used for cleaning should be either:

  • Oleophilic which means oil attracting (primarily)
  • Hydrophobic which means water repelling.
The benefit of using sorbent materials is that they can reach into areas where skimmers cannot. After the use of any sorbent material, it needs to be disposed off as per the environmental regulations of the state or country.

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