A gelator–starch blend for dry powder based instant solidification of crude oil at room temperature†
Immobilization of crude oil via solidification is a technique that allows for the control and remediation of oil spills. Gelation using supramolecular gelators is a powerful method for the solidification of crude oil. However, this method suffers from the limitation that the gelator has to be dispersed over the crude oil as a solution in environmentally harmful and volatile carrier solvents. Compared to this, the solid dispersal of the dry powder solidifier offers a very attractive solution to the problem but has rarely been reported with very limited success. Herein, we report a previously untested method for the dispersal of the solid gelator as a gelator–natural polymer blend that allows the uniform dispersion of the gelator over a wider bulk of the crude oil, resulting in its ultrafast gelation in less than 30 s at ambient temperature. Also, the technique is successful at low loadings of the composite material that contains the gelator at very low concentrations (0.34%, w/v).