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Nanoscaled Surface Modification of Poly(dimethylsiloxane) Using Carbon Nanotubes for Enhanced Oil and Organic Solvent Absorption

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journal contribution
posted on 26.11.2018 by Chong Cheen Ong, Satisvar Sundera Murthe, Norani Muti Mohamed, Veeradasan Perumal, Mohamed Shuaib Mohamed Saheed
This article demonstrates a novel nanoscale surface modification method to enhance the selectivity of porous poly­(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) in removing oil from water. The surface modification method is simple and low cost by using sugar as a sacrificial template for temporal adhering of carbon nanotubes (CNT) before addition of PDMS prepolymer to encapsulate the CNT on its surface once polymerized. The PDMS–CNT demonstrated a tremendous increase in absorption capacity up to 3-fold compared to previously reported absorbents composed solely of PDMS. Besides showcasing excellent absorption capacity, the PDMS–CNT also shows a faster absorption rate (25 s) as compared to that of pure PDMS (40 s). The enhanced absorption rate is due to the incorporation of CNT, which roughens the surface of the polymer at the nanoscale and lowers the surface energy of porous PDMS while at the same time increasing the absorbent hydrophobicity and oleophilicity. This property makes the absorbent unique in absorbing only oil but repelling water at the same time. The PDMS–CNT is an excellent absorbent material with outstanding recyclability and selectivity for removing oil from water.