A magnetic and highly reusable macroporous superhydrophobic/superoleophilic PDMS/MWNT nanocomposite for oil sorption from water†
Oil/water separation is a worldwide challenge to prevent serious environmental pollution. The development of sorbent materials with high selectivity, sorption capacity, easy collection and recyclability is of high demand for spilled oil recovery. In this field, magnetic controllable materials have received wide attention due to the possibility of easily being driven to polluted areas and recovered by simple magnetic interaction. However, most of them exhibited low reusability, low oil uptake ability and low mechanical properties. Moreover, their synthesis is complex and expensive. Here, we propose for the first time the fabrication of a porous reusable magnetic nanocomposite based on polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) via a low cost approach. The material can selectively collect oil from water reaching equilibrium in less than two minutes, evidencing a higher volume sorption capacity with respect to other already proposed materials for oil sorption from water. Furthermore, the material evidenced excellent mechanical properties with a stress at 60% strain at least 10 times higher with respect to other proposed similar materials and maintained its characteristics after 50 cycles at 90% strain, along with high thermal and chemical stability, making them useful as high-performance systems for plugging oil leakage.