October 11, 2012
Osorb: Absorbent Nanomaterial Cleans up Toxic Water
Science is full of surprises. Chemist Paul Edmiston’s search for a new way to detect explosives at airports, instead, led to the creation of what’s now called “Osorb,” swellable, organically-modified silica, or glass, capable of absorbing oil and other contaminants from water. Osorb has become the principal product of a company in Wooster called ABSMaterials, where Edmiston is now chief scientist. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Edmiston and his colleagues at ABSMaterials are developing water remediation technologies for cities and industries — everything from storm water to agricultural runoff. Municipal water systems and companies in several U.S. states and Canadian provinces are using Osorb. ABSMaterials is creating formulas to address various contaminants, including hydrocarbons, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, herbicides, chlorinated solvents and endocrine disruptors.