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Antifouling Cellulose Hybrid Biomembrane for Effective Oil/Water Separation

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posted on 2017-08-10, 00:00 authored by Ravichandran H. Kollarigowda, Sinoj Abraham, Carlo D. Montemagno
Oil/water separation has been of great interest worldwide because of the increasingly serious environmental pollution caused by the abundant discharge of industrial wastewater, oil spill accidents, and odors. Here, we describe simple and economical superhydrophobic hybrid membranes for effective oil/water separation. Eco-friendly, antifouling membranes were fabricated for oil/water separation, waste particle filtration, the blocking of thiol-based odor materials, etc., by using a cellulose membrane (CM) filter. The CM was modified from its original superhydrophilic nature into a superhydrophobic surface via a reversible addition–fragmentation chain transfer technique. The block copolymer poly­{[3-(trimethoxysilyl)­propyl acrylate]-block-myrcene} was synthesized using a “grafting-from” approach on the CM. The surface contact angle that we obtained was >160°, and absorption tests of several organic contaminants (oils and solvents) exhibited superior levels of extractive activity and excellent reusability. These properties rendered this membrane a promising surface for oil/water separation. Interestingly, myrcene blocks thiol (through “-ene-” chemistry) contaminants, thereby bestowing a pleasant odor to polluted water by acting as an antifouling material. We exploited the structural properties of cellulose networks and simple chemical manipulations to fabricate an original material that proved to be effective in separating water from organic and nano/microparticulate contaminants. These characteristics allowed our material to effectively separate water from oily/particulate phases as well as embed antifouling materials for water purification, thus making it an appropriate absorber for chemical processes and environmental protection.