Public Lab Research note

First "PIG Oil Only Absorbent Mat Pad" Test

by Matej | December 21, 2015 08:43 21 Dec 08:43 | #12536 | #12536

Matej was awarded the Basic Barnstar by warren for their work in this research note.

What I want to do

Here is the first test of the PIG Oil Only Absorbent Mat Pad. I was testing the PIG trimmed to 7” 1/4” surface area using 1:40 ratio of water and 80W90 oil (6ml of 80W90 and 1 cup of water), attempting to recover as much pure product oil as possible.

My attempt and results

Unboxing... :-) this is how they actually ship them. Pic.1


The mats are about 1/8" thick, made of multiple soft layers. Most distinct are 3. Two on the surface and one in the middle. Between them is cotton like soft material. They feel waxy. The mat left a little bit of some sort of transparent oil/wax like residuum on my fingers. After a while it felt little skin irritating so I decided to use gloves. Overall they seem to be dry. Pic.2


I filled the container with 1 cup of tap water. Pic.3


I dripped 6ml of 80W90 oil across the container, attempting for balanced distribution. Pic.4


Placed the mat on the top. Pic.5


Oil absorbance was much slower than expected. No water intrusion observed. Pic.6 is showing how it looked like in first two minutes of the experiment. Pic.6


Here within first 5 min Pic.7


And here after 20 min. Pic.8


Seems like the oil started to soak in thru the the small holes and sides of the mat. Never made it directly thru the intact material. Pic.9


Bottom soaked the larger oil drops which did not dispersed in on the water surface, because the water was to saturated with the oil. Pic.10


At the end it was apparent that the PIG did not absorbed all the oil. in fact it left quite large residuum. After that I repeated the procedure with two more cloths. Both absorbed a little bit, although a sheen was still visible. Pic.11






From the initial cloth I was not able to recover large enough amount of oil. In fact I recovered only 1 drop of pure product. Because of that I had to use the mineral oil to dilute the sample and prepare it for the spectrometer. Good idea is to re-suspend the oil mixture which will secure even distribution of the pils in the mixture. Pic.13




I decided to cut out parts of the mat which soaked larger amount of oil in order to collect larger concentration. Pic.15


After that I soaked the cut outs in mineral oil. Pic.16


Very quickly the cut outs got saturated and transparent. Pic.17


I waited for about 5 min until the mineral oil mixed with the 80W90 and squeezed them into the 1oz flask. Pic.18


I was able to fill up more than half of the flask. After that I re-suspended the oil with a transfer pipette for couple of times and added 1ml of the mixture into a cuvette. Pic.19


After that I took triplicate spectra of the above mentioned mixture of 80W90 and mineral oil. Here is the spectra. First low concentration 1drop of 80W90 & 1ml of mineral

than higher concentration of 80W90 & mineral oil:

The PIG absorbed the oil well but it is harder to recover the oil from it. Most of the product gets lost and I had to use the mineral oil to prepare large enough spec for the spectrometer.

Questions and next steps

Next steps would be to find out how to recover more oil more efficiently form the PIG and find out if how much if the spectra gets changed.

Why I'm interested

I am interested to test figure out a way how to prepare best specs for the OTK and to test the ability of different different DIY techniques to separate oil from water. This is one of the methods I am trying.

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Another solvent may do the trick of de-sorbing the oil. It should be highly volatile. Hexane or Acetone?

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We'd discussed using isopropyl alcohol at the Barnraising; I'd love to know if it can dissolve oil. Matt Pendergraft (@Matt_P) mentioned doing this, and said the alcohol could just be left out at room temperature for some hours to evaporate off and concentrate the sample. Worth trying!

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@ernestootero -- what about methanol, which is somewhat less toxic than hexane or acetone? Have you used isopropyl?

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