NSF Video Oct. 2012

"Osorb," swellable, organically-modified silica, or glass, capable of absorbing oil and other contaminants from water.  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. AC&E, INC. partner ABSMaterials is creating formulas to address various contaminants, including hydrocarbons, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, herbicides, chlorinated solvents and endocrine disruptors.​


Dr. Paul Edmiston demonstrates the effectiveness of his Osorb water purifier by drinking from a slurry of water and engine-enhancing fuel additives. Osorb is a powder made from tiny fragments of chemically modified glass, and it works like a nanoscale sponge. If you mix it into an oil spill, a hazardous waste plume, or a host of other contaminants, it soaks up the toxic organic compounds, leaving pure water behind. In the process, Osorb swells as much as eight times its original volume, pushing with a force that could lift up to 20,000 times its weight -- a thermos full could lift a car. After a waste site is cleaned, the Osorb can be rinsed or heated to get at the spilled material, which can usually be reused.

Dr. Paul Edmiston

Dr. Paul Edmiston of The College of Wooster's chemistry department explains how the nano-engineered wonder glass "Osorb" works, giving insight into its discovery and future uses.

Sci-Tech Today: Super-absorbent Nanoglass Cleans Pollutants

Some of the best scientific discoveries happen accidentally, and that's exactly what happened at Ohio's College of Wooster, where a project devoted to using nano-engineered glass powder to detect explosives instead led to the realization that the material could absorb pollutants from water. Watch this videocast to find out more about Obsorb, which swells up to many times its volume as it absorbs contaminants.


 Osorb can be used for a variety of water remediation practices. Applications of the technology has shown unmatched success in remediating water contaminated with the following organics: