Selective separation of oil and water with special wettability mesh membranes†
Due to the different interfacial effects of oil and water, utilizing the special wettability of solid surfaces to design an oil and water separation process has been demonstrated to be an effective approach for oil/water separation. In this report, a simple process has been developed to fabricate special surface wettability mesh membranes. The carbon nanoparticles with diameters of 10 nm were first coated onto the surface of steel wires based on a candle soot coating process. These templates of carbon nanoparticles were then coated with a more stable layer of silica (SiO2) particles via a facile chemical vapor deposition route. After being modified by two separate methods, a superhydrophobic/superoleophilic membrane was obtained by the use of 1H,1H,2H,2H-perfluorooctyltrichlorosilane (PFOTS) and a oleophobic/superhydrophilic membrane was obtained by using poly(diallyldimethylammonium-perfluorooctanoate) (PDDA–PFO). Separation experiments show that these superhydrophobic/superoleophilic or oleophobic/superhydrophilic mesh membranes can be used to selectively separate oil/water with a high flux of more than 930 L m−2 h−1 and a collecting efficiency of over 97%. Furthermore, the repetitions of the separation experiments demonstrate that these superhydrophobic/superoleophilic or oleophobic/superhydrophilic mesh membranes are durable, stable and reusable, making them encouraging candidates for practical oil-polluted water treatment.