By Chelsea Whyte
Unwanted citrus fruit peel could be re-purposed into ultra-light sponges that can clean up oil spills, while also reducing food waste.
Fengzhi Tan at Dalian Polytechnic University in China gathered the discarded peel of pomelos, a large citrus fruit similar to a grapefruit. They chipped off the yellow skin, leaving only the spongy pith, which they ground and dried into a powder.
Then they added a liquid silicon-based compound and heated it to 80°C for 12 hours and then 60°C for 24 hours to turn it into an aerogel – …