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Simply Adjusting the Unidirectional Liquid Transport of Scalable Janus Membranes toward Moisture-Wicking Fabric, Rapid Demulsification, and Fast Oil/Water Separation

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journal contribution
posted on 28.10.2020, 12:05 by Chao Fu, Lin Gu, Zhixiang Zeng, Qunji Xue
Inspired by nature, Janus membranes with unidirectional liquid transport (ULT) were developed to be used in the fields of fog collection, moisture-wicking fabrics, demulsification, etc. However, the obtained Janus membranes are often unifunctional, and it is still a great challenge to adjust the ULT of Janus membranes for multifunctional applications. Herein, a scalable, low-cost, and machine-washable Janus membrane was developed by combining the cyclic self-assembly of phytic acid and FeIII and a one-side spraying coating of poly­(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS), featuring adjustable ULT upon challenge for multifunctional applications. By controlling the amount of PDMS, the Janus membranes exhibit two different performances, ULT and switchable permeation. The prepared Janus membranes achieved an excellent moisture-wicking fabric (1.6× the water evaporation rate of cotton), fast water collection under oil, rapid demulsification, and the efficient separation of an oil/water mixture. The separation efficiency of a light or heavy oil from water was higher than 99.9% even after 10 separation cycles, and the flux of the separation was up to 2.55 × 104 or 2.38 × 104 L m–2 h–1, respectively. This study could provide an idea for the development of more Janus membranes with adjustable performances to realize multifunctional applications.