It was a warm day in early spring of my senior year. We only had about six weeks of class remaining until graduation…
Our physics teacher had his back to the class writing some impossible-to-understand equation on the chalk board. I had just come from gym class to my adrenaline, endorphin & testosterone levels at their peak.
As I gazed out the open window, I saw a wasp fly in and hover over my classmate & friend, Holly Hetrick, seated one row in front of me. I knew Holly just about died from a wasp sting the year before, so I sprung into action.
I quickly rolled my gym towel into a rat tail and immediately whip-snapped the unsuspecting menace from the air to the floor below.
Holly screamed. The wasp died.
And Mr. Beegle, without turning around, calmly said, “Beaver, pack your books. You’re out of my class for the rest of the year.”
As I left the room, some of my fellow seniors clapped, others jeered and Holly yelled, “Mr. Beegle, you can’t throw him out. He saved my life.”
No dice. I was gone. Banished. Shunned.
Then the real punishment began.
I had to tell my dad, who was president of the school board and a tough (but fair) father. On the way home, I stopped at my grandparents’ house and asked what they thought I should do. Pap Lee said:
- “Go to the principal and tell him you plan to complete the course on your own and want to take all the final tests offered by Mr Beegle…outside the class.”
- “Ask his advice for a tutor to help me.”
- “Hire the tutor”
- “Then tell your father your plans”
So, that’s what I did. And, the plan worked (except dad still grounded me for 3 weeks). Fortunately, my competitive drive kicked in and I used my grounding to ace the finals and I actually started to understand the laws of motion, thermodynamics and other physics stuff.
I used the practical side of physics to solve lots of leak and spill control and cleanup problems for the past 40 years.
So, when clients in the oil and gas exploration business asked me why traditional white oil spill pads didn’t work in wet weather, it was relatively easy to explain:
White oil spill pads repel rainwater
- The repelled water beads up on the white pads
- When oil drips and leaks on the white pads, it floats on top of the water
- Additional rain washes the oil over top the white pads onto the surrounding surfaces
Then it hit me, if I could find fibers that allowed rain to flow through them but held onto the oil as the water passed through, the problem would be solved.
That’s how we discovered Spilltration materials. They are engineered to:
- Grab and hold oil-based leaks, drips and spills
- Allow clean water to filter through