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Sustainable Polymeric Material for Facile and Repetitive Removal of Oil-Spills through Complementary Use of Both Selective-Absorption and Active Filtration Processes

Abstract

Oil contamination in aqueous phase by regular industrial discharges and accidental oil spillages during production and transportation of oil is being emerged as a global challenge due to its catastrophic effect on the aquatic ecosystem. Here, naturally abundant fibrous substrate (i.e.; cotton ball) is strategically exploited in energy-efficient and environment-friendly cleaning of different forms of oil-contaminations including floating light-oil, sediment heavy-oil and emulsions, after the appropriate optimization of both the topography and essential chemistry in the fibrous substrate through catalyst-free, simple and scalable 1, 4 conjugate addition reaction between amine and acrylate groups under ambient conditions. The synthesized superhydrophobic cotton (SHC) that is capable of extremely repelling water both in air and under oil, has provided a single avenue for both highly selective 1) absorption (with efficiency above 2000 wt% for both heavy and light oils) and 2) gravity-driven active filtration of oil. The synthesized material is highly efficient in separation of oil from aqueous phases that are chemically harsh, including the extremes of pH (1 & 12), artificial seawater etc. The embedded superhydrophobicity in the synthesized material remained unperturbed, even after prolonged (10 days) exposures to UV irradiation (both at 254 nm and 365 nm) and after incurring various physical deformations. Although this synthesized material was repetitively (100 times) used in removing oil contaminations, the antifouling property remained intact with advancing water contact angle of 157° and the oil/water separation efficiency remained around 95%. Further, the current approach provided a simple basis to separate oil from complex three-phase oil/water mixture that was composed of heavy-oil phase (bottom layer), aqueous phase (middle layer) and light-oil phase (top layer), where the strategic application of SHC allowed successful clean-up of oils through complementary use of—absorption and filtration processes.

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Publication details

The article was received on 11 Sep 2017, accepted on 13 Oct 2017 and first published on 13 Oct 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7TA07982F
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. A, 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    Sustainable Polymeric Material for Facile and Repetitive Removal of Oil-Spills through Complementary Use of Both Selective-Absorption and Active Filtration Processes

    A. M. Rather, N. Jana, P. Hazarika and U. Manna, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7TA07982F

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