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Decomposable Polyvinyl Alcohol-Based Super-Hydrophobic Three-Dimensional Porous Material for Effective Water/Oil Separation

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posted on 2018-11-28, 00:00 authored by Qunying Wang, Qing Li, M. Yasir Akram, Safdar Ali, Jun Nie, Xiaoqun Zhu
The development of the oil industry brings the critical problem of ocean pollution by oil spill or fossil fuels. The use of materials for water/oil separation is one of the effective approaches to solve this crisis. Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) has been used  to prepare water/oil separation materials. Currently, glutaraldehyde has been employed as the cross-linking agent, which is well known to be toxic and environmentally unfriendly. Moreover, it is difficult to deal with the disposal of the Across-linked material. Here, we propose a strategy of fabricating macroporous material which was prepared by PVA and sodium silicate (Na2SiO3) in aqueous solution. Following through with the one-step method of sol–gel reaction of hydroxyl groups with trimethoxy­(octadecyl)­silane, the low surface energy substance was grafted on the macroporous material and a super-hydrophobic macroporous membrane for water/oil separation was prepared. As oil sorbent, the as-prepared dried super-hydrophobic PVA/Na2SiO3 porous materials (PSD6S) have the adsorption capacity of 1.8–7.0 g/g for oil uptake, which depends on the type of oil liquid. Typically, the separation efficiency of this material could reach more than 99% even after 10 times of use without the help of ambient pressure. It is noteworthy that the as-prepared samples could be easily decomposable and dissolvable completely in acidic medium at a rapid rate.

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