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Magnetic cleansing investigation

Investigation into the feasibility of applying magnetic particle technology to the cleansing of oiled wildlife in the field.
1 December 2007

The application of magnetic particle technology to environmental remediation and wildlife rehabilitation has been the subject of a number of peer-reviewed journal articles.

In 2007, Victoria University and the Phillip Island Nature Park Research Department completed a basic evaluation of magnetic cleansing compared to conventional detergent-based methods. Their report—Investigation into the feasibility of applying magnetic particle technology to the cleansing of oiled wildlife in the field—is provided below.

The evaluation looked at:

  • benefits to oiled wildlife (particularly with regard to oil removal)
  • handling time (and therefore stress) 
  • cost of materials 
  • recycling of iron powder.

The use of magnetic particles for the cleansing of oiled feathers (and fur) promises a number of advantages in terms of time, labour and cost over conventional detergent-based methods. Such particles, unlike detergents, are non-toxic, non-irritating and recyclable. The method also offers the possibility of superior equipment mobility.

This work achieved significant international attention at the time. Subsequent work on turning this proof of concept into a workable field technique has never quite reached the pragmatic and practical application required, but researchers are still hopeful.

Read more about this on the University of Melbourne Scientific Scribbles blog.

Author 

The Animal Rehabilitation Technology Group

Last Updated: 

26 November 2020