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3D Printing of Mechanically Durable Superhydrophobic Porous Membrane for Oil-Water Separation


Although superhydrophobic porous membrane is considered as a very promising candidate for oil-water separation, its fabrication methods often involve complicated treatments to build a coating with micro-nano feature on the porous mesh (called “coating on mesh structure”), which lead to weak mechanical stability of superhydrophobic surfaces and the formation of inhomogeneous membrane pores. Herein, we report a facile and environmental-friendly 3D printing approach to fabricate the superhydrophobic membranes with ordered porous structure for oil-water separation using hydrophobic nano-silica filled Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) ink. The addition of nano-silica can improve the mechanical strength of the ink and thus ensures the formation of desired topographical structures without collapsing during 3D printing. Through adjusting the geometrical parameters, a superhydrophobic PDMS membrane is obtained, which mainly depends on the roughness at sub-millimetre scale. More importantly, 3D printing approach integrates the superhydrophobic surface into the porous framework and results in a mechanically durable superhydrophobic membrane, which successfully avoids the weak interface adhesion issue from the traditional “coating on mesh structure”. Besides, the pore size of the printed membrane can be easily adjusted by computer program to optimize both liquid flux and separation efficiency of the membranes. The maximum oil-water separation efficiency (~99.6%) can be achieved for the printed porous membrane with the pore size of 0.37 mm, which also exhibits a high flux of ~23700 L/m2•h.

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Publication details

The article was received on 12 Mar 2017, accepted on 13 May 2017 and first published on 15 May 2017

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7TA02202F
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. A, 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    3D Printing of Mechanically Durable Superhydrophobic Porous Membrane for Oil-Water Separation

    J. Lv, Z. Gong, Z. He, J. Yang, Y. Chen, C. Tang, Y. Liu, M. Fan and L. Lau, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7TA02202F

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