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Amphiphilic hyperbranched polyethyleneimine for highly efficient oil–water separation

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Abstract

To deal with the demulsification of O/W emulsions, a novel kind of core–shell structural amphiphilic soft matter, HPEI-g-Cn (n = 10, 12, 14, 16, 18), with hyperbranched polyethyleneimine (HPEI) as the core and fatty acid chain Cn as the shell, is designed and synthesized. With the existence of amphiphilic HPEI-g-Cn, O/W emulsions can be thoroughly separated into two phases with a clear oil–water interface to reach demulsification equilibrium within 40 min. The oil removal ratio can exceed 99.9% under the addition of 40 ppm in simulative emulsions, and simultaneously the water content in the oil phase is less than 0.01%. This demulsifier can also contribute to excellent separation efficiency (up to 99.9%) for O/W emulsions from two China's oilfields, and even for heavy oil emulsions. More importantly, it is noted that the HPEI-g-Cn demulsifiers after demulsification are evenly and tightly dispersed at the oil–water interface as shown by wide-angle X-ray scattering (WAXS) and cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), which is beneficial to the subsequent recovery and utilization. With eco-friendly characteristics, outstanding demulsification performance and promising recyclability, the amphiphilic macromolecules HPEI-g-Cn as special soft matter display great promise to achieve industrial applications in the future.

Graphical abstract: Amphiphilic hyperbranched polyethyleneimine for highly efficient oil–water separation

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Article information


Submitted
01 Sep 2019
Accepted
07 Jan 2020
First published
08 Jan 2020

J. Mater. Chem. A, 2020, Advance Article
Article type
Paper

Amphiphilic hyperbranched polyethyleneimine for highly efficient oil–water separation

S. Yan, G. He, D. Ye, Y. Guo and W. Fang, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2020, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C9TA09640J

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