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Porous Polyethylene Bundles with Enhanced Hydrophobicity and Pumping Oil-Recovery Ability via Skin-Peeling

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posted on 04.09.2018, 00:00 by Xudong Zhang, Xiaolong Wang, Xianhu Liu, Cunjing Lv, Yaming Wang, Guoqiang Zheng, Hu Liu, Chuntai Liu, Zhanhu Guo, Changyu Shen
Developing a feasible and efficient adsorption material for the large area of an oil leak is still challenging due to the critical limitation of complex production process and expensive cost. In this work, the tridimensional interconnected porous high-density polyethylene bundles based on the immiscible polymer blend principle were successfully fabricated via melt extrusion and water leaching method. However, due to the hydrophilicity of polyethylene, the porous bundles featured modest hydrophobicity with a water contact angle about 97° ± 2.8° and low efficiency of oil recovery. To achieve good hydrophobicity, we present a skin-peeling route for forming an enhanced hydrophobic surface. After skin-peeling, due to the existence of villus-like fiber structure, the bundle surfaces showed excellent hydrophobicity with a water contact angle of 139° ± 4.8°, as well as the strong lipophilicity and pumping oil-recovery ability, endowing the materials with potential applications in continuous oil–water separation. This work proposes not only an efficient and green way to fabricate porous polyethylene bundles with enhanced hydrophobicity and pumping oil-recovery ability but also a new opportunity for potential commercial applications.