Friday, 14 May, 2010 Science
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China Researchers to Use Cigarette Butts to Protect Steel Pipes from Rusting

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About 300 millions of Chinese people are smokers. They throw cigarette butts in the sea, thus killing fish. However, it seems that researchers found a way of using these butts for the good of people - to protect steel pipes from rusting.

The journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, features a paper published by the Chinese researchers, in which they say that they immersed cigarette butts in water and thus managed to identify nine chemicals.

After finding the chemicals, researchers applied them to a type of steel called N80, which is used in oil pipes. They noticed that these chemicals were able to protect the steel from rusting.

"The metal surface can be protected and the iron atom's further dissolution can be prevented," the paper said. One of the chemicals that is responsible for the protection of steel against rusting is nicotine, reports Reuters.

It is worth mentioning that the team that carried out the study was led by Jun Zhao from the Xi'an Jiaotong University's School of Energy and Power Engineering. The project is funded by China National Petroleum Corporation, a state-owned oil company.

The paper reads that about 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are thrown away each year, featuring toxins able to kill fish.

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