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Facile Fabrication of Superhydrophobic and Eco-Friendly Poly(lactic acid) Foam for Oil–Water Separation via Skin Peeling

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journal contribution
posted on 27.03.2019, 00:00 by Xiaolong Wang, Yamin Pan, Xianhu Liu, Hu Liu, Ning Li, Chuntai Liu, Dirk W. Schubert, Changyu Shen
Superhydrophobic polymer foams are a good candidate for oil absorption because of their lightweight and tunable porosity and have promising applications in the long-term application of oil–water separation. However, developing a facile and green strategy to fabricate pure polymer foams with superhydrophobicity and eco-friendliness for large-scale oil–water separation remains a challenge. Here, a facile template-free water-assisted thermally impacted phase separation approach combined with skin peeling for the fabrication of superhydrophobic and eco-friendly pure poly­(lactic acid) (PLA) foam for oil–water separation is proposed for the first time. The PLA foam with special micro- and nanostructures possesses a water contact angle of 151°, and the maximum saturated adsorption capacity is 31.5 g/g. More importantly, during the continuous oil–water pumping experiment, the foam has an efficiency of 98% and could maintain for more than 15 h, showing a promising prospect for cleaning large-scale oil pollution.