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Sorbent Product Forms & Uses

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Booms are cylindrical shaped and vary in length and width. Booms are used to control and contain spills. Some booms are made to be used to contain spills on water, and can be connected together and deployed onto the water as a large spill barrier. view available products

Socks or mini booms are cylindrical shaped and vary in length and width. This form of sorbent is typically used in facility spill response or maintenance applications. Socks can be used to contain spills or placed around machinery or other equipment to contain leaks. view available products

Pillows are rectangular in shape and filled with sorbent media. They're used to clean up medium sized spills. Place pillows under drip pans to eliminate overflow problems, or use as a precaution for a possible spill when transferring liquids. view available products

Pads and rolls are flat sorbent sheets available in unperforated rolls, perforated rolls or manufactured to a specific size, up to 300 feet long. Pads can be used to line shelves, catch leaks under machinery and clean up spills. Rolls can be cut to specific lengths for larger applications. view available products

Loose sorbents are composed of sorbent media that is not contained in any type of pillow or mesh. Application of loose sorbents depends on the type of sorbent media used. Loose sorbents are typically used on small spills. view available products


Sorbent Categories
The three categories of sorbents are: universal, petroleum and maintenance. These categories are made up of several different sorbent materials, including synthetics such as polypropylene; inorganic materials, such as expanded silicates and clay; and organic materials such as cellulose and wood fibers.

Universal sorbents are designed to absorb any liquid. They will absorb aggressive liquids such as acids and bases as well as non-aggressive liquids and solvents, such as cleaners, water-based fluids, gasoline and alcohols. Universal sorbents are made of polypropylene or expanded silicates materials. view available products
*Note: When cleaning up hydrofluoric acid, do not use an expanded silicate absorbent, as the expanded silicate material will react with the hydrofluoric acid. Instead, use a sorbent made of polypropylene.

Petroleum sorbents or "oil-only sorbents" are designed for absorption of oil and/or petroleumbased liquids. These sorbents are hydrophobic, which means they will not absorb water or waterbased liquids. These can be deployed on water surfaces for emergency cleanup of spills, or used in maintenance applications for hydraulic and engine oil cleanup. Petroleum sorbents are made of polypropylene or treated cellulose. view available products

Maintenance sorbents absorb non-aggressive liquids commonly found in manufacturing/maintenance operations. Examples of these liquids include coolants, lubricants, oils and cutting fluids. Maintenance sorbents will pick up water-based as well as oil-based fluids. view available products

These sorbents are typically made of recycled materials, such as cotton, wool, cellulose or corn cob. They can also be made of polypropylene, or a combination of the materials listed above.




Sorbent Capacity
Sorbent capacity can be listed by the amount of weight it will absorb in relation to itself ("Absorbs 12 times its weight.") or by its liquid capacity ("Absorbs 8 gallons."). For example, if a boom weighs one pound and absorbs 12 times its weight, it will absorb 12 pounds of fluid.

However, since all liquids don't weigh the same per gallon, the weight capacity of the sorbent actually varies from liquid to liquid. So perhaps a more accurate way to assess sorbent capacity is by how many gallons it will absorb, or its liquid capacity. This amount will remain fairly static, regardless of the fluid weight. A boom that's four feet long and three inches in diameter will typically absorb 1 to 1¼ gallons of liquid. A pad that measures 16" x 20" and is 3/16" thick will absorb 28–32 fluid ounces. (Both of these examples are for polypropylene sorbents. Other materials may have different sorbent capacities.)



Commonly Asked Questions:


Q. What is the difference between a sock, a dike and a boom?

A. Socks are more moldable than dikes or booms. The skin is constructed of a lightweight knit material. Socks are mainly used in maintenance applications for containing and absorbing liquids. Dikes do not mold or form around equipment as well as socks, but are more durable. Dikes are used for containing and absorbing small and large spills in open areas. Booms consist of a particulate-type absorbent covered with a porous fabric. Available in various diameters and lengths, booms are used for containing and absorbing large spills.

Q. Where can I find information on determining the absorbency rate of sorbents?

A. Specially developed tests are used for calculating the sorbent performance factors. The standard method of sorbent performance testing is described in detail in the American Society For Testing Materials (ASTM) standard F 716-82, the "Standard Methods of Testing Sorbent Performance of Adsorbents." Oil and water adsorption strength, buoyancy, absorbency and reusability are some of the tests included in the standards.

Q. What is the proper disposal method for saturated sorbents?

A. The handling, storage and disposal of these materials is governed by local, state and/or federal environmental regulations. It is the end user's responsibility to comply with the respective regulations.


-Do you have leaks, drips, sprays or spills in your plant?

-Are you required to maintain a spill contingency plan?

-Are there any potential safety hazards around machines or in storage areas where a risk of injury or chemical reaction is possible?

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