Accidental Invention: “Magic Cotton” nominated for a “Patent of the Year”

Ernst Krendlinger should slightly modify a recipe for wax for his employer. But something went wrong. Ten tons of a fibrous substance that reminded cotton were produced. The chemist responded. Made a success out of faulty production.

Because the incorrectly produced cotton has become “magic wadding”, excellent separating oil and water. And so in oil disasters can prevent bad pollution. Who was responsible for the breakdown? You don’t know it. “Someone must have set probably the wrong temperature and the false pressure”, Krendlinger said to the magazine wired. In any case, this happened at the chemical company Deurex in Elsteraue in Saxony. And also, why out of faulty production has been a recipe for success: “we wanted to not just throw this huge amount, which would have caused huge costs”, said Krendlinger.

Drinking water quality in short period

In the course of various experiments, Krendlinger found out that the strange cotton absorbs substances like oil or diesel while they simultaneously repels water. “As far as I know, these properties are unique in the world,” says the 61-year-old. Magic cotton he and his team call the newly discovered hydrophobic binder with the official name of Deurex Pure.

The magic wadding is insoluble in water, weather-resistant recyclable, environmentally friendly, and swims stay on top, even fully soaked with oil. According to Deurex, the wax can absorb the 6,55 times of its own weight. 100 kg Deurex Pure can more than 600 litres of oil from contaminated water bind. “Then it has drinking water quality again”, says Krendlinger.

Unbelieving patent offices in Munich and the Hague

The so fully drawn wax cotton you can then simply wring out and reuse. “The wax is of course then not more so absorbent, but three to four times, it can be used loose again”, says Krendlinger. “The crucial difference to all previous methods is just that we can tie the oil out of the water completely and without residue.”

It did not believe the Patent Office in Munich him, as he wanted to apply pure patent Deurex. “I drove by then and had it before them. Only when I drank a mouthful of purified water, they believed me”, reported the inventor. Also at the European Patent Office in the Hague, the random inventor blew the first and had to conspicuously drink purified water.

Nominated for the patent of the year

In the meantime have Krendlinger and his employer Deurex the patent for the magic wadding. And by the European special lawyers, she was nominated as “Patent of the year”. “The ceremony takes place next spring in the Elysee Palace in Paris”, Krendlinger reported. If the magic wadding WINS, there is a prize of half a million euros.

Engineers of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) along the lines of floating ferns have also developed a material that does not absorb water, but large amounts of oil. Then, the Nano fur can be easily fish – with its cargo of oil out of the water. Still, the material named Nanofur located in the prototype stage. The researchers work on a large-scale production.

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