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Gyre-Gluing Garbage Gobbler

Cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in needlessly complicated fashion.
  [vote for,

First, for reasons that may or may not become clear, the results of a few kitchen-counter experiments:

1) CA (cyanoacrylate) glue, better known as super glue or crazy glue, sets and hardens when exposed to moisture. Usually atmospheric moisture is enough, but for a strong bond you can dampen one of the contact surfaces. If you squirt CA glue into a glass of water, it will immediately harden into an interesting squiggly shape. My tests have shown that it will harden just as readily in saline, which I figured would be the case since it hardens with exposure to blood and is great for closing wounds.

2) A simple electrode powered by a AA battery will attract not only floating plastic particles (simulated in my experiment using crumbs of styrofoam, chopped-up model sprue, and water filter beads) but also, surprisingly, 'dissolved polymers' (simulated using the hardening agent from a tube of 2-part epoxy).

3) CA glue is not rhinoceros-compatible.

4) CA glue injected into water in an aluminium ice-cube tray hardens too fast to adhere to the metal surface, and thus can be easily extracted.

The Idea:

An array of three ships steam against the current of an oceanic Gyre (see <link>); two ocean-going tugs, running maybe 6 miles abreast, tow floating booms that trail back in a huge V to a massive open-bowed barge. Suspended from the booms are 0.25mm mesh filters and a series of electrodes that serve not only to attract floating particles but also to deter sea creatures (perhaps supplemented by bio-degradable chemical deterrants; propane cannons will be used to scare off curious albatrosses). The booms thus collect and funnel wide swaths of garbage into the path of the barge, which sucks the polluted waters into, for a lack of a better description, a giant aluminium ice-cube tray. The sludge is then further filtered until all but a little of the water is gone. When the tray is full, steel pad-eyes are lowered into each well (for ease of handling later on) and the CA is injected, making big cubes of trapped plastic debris and (now encapsulated) dissolved goo. These are off-loaded onto lighters which transport them to the nearest recycling-plant- adjacent port, where the reclaimed garbage is shredded, separated, and melted down to be made into baby bottles and park benches.

Once the system is proven, huge fleets of Gyre Gluers will trawl the polluted waters of the world, slowly cleaning up the mess and sending home valuable reclaimed materials which can be made into vital consumer products, used, and tossed back into the ocean.

Alterother, Feb 22 2012

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch http://en.wikipedia...cific_Garbage_Patch
It's not the only one, either. [Alterother, Feb 22 2012]

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       I like it!   

       Have a bun. I promise I didn't put super glue in it.
Psalm_97, Feb 22 2012

       I've been trying to think of a gyre-cleaning idea for a while. The main problem is that although there is a huge mass of waste, it is spread over an even hugerer area, so grabbing random numbers out of the air, you'd use a litre of boat diesel to recover a gram of plastic.   

       Also, can plastic be used after it is part of a superglue block? I'm pretty sure that most of the plastic in the gyre is so photo-degraded and chemically altered that burning is the best way to get rid of it.
marklar, Feb 23 2012

       Where do you put the rhinoceros? They don't swim as gracefully as hippos, do they? No matter! [+]
Grogster, Feb 23 2012

       Remind me never to buy cheap 'earth-friendly' baby bottles.
RayfordSteele, Feb 23 2012

       I'm aware that this is not an energy-efficient solution, nor will all of the material recovered be usable, but something is better than nothing, which is about what we have right now. Even burning the waste plastic can reclaim a little energy from it, even if it's just a fraction of that used to collect it. And yes, captured plastics can be removed from the CA, either by heating until the hardened glue becomes brittle or by using acetone to weaken the bond.   

       [Grog], the rhinoceros remains on land, serving the operation in a supervisory role. Extensive tests conducted at the Heathen Institute for Inadvisably Applied Science and Post-Modern Flentology have conclusively shown that the rhinoceros is not a seafaring creature, nor does it want to be.
Alterother, Feb 23 2012

       //the rhinoceros is not a seafaring creature, nor does it want to be.//   

       I know the feeling. I was not made to be in that much water either, nor do I want to be. If I were meant to be in water deeper than I am tall, I would have come equipped with scales and a vent.
Psalm_97, Feb 23 2012


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