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EcoFlex Sponge with Ultrahigh Oil Absorption Capacity

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posted on 09.05.2019, 00:00 by Zihan Lu, Jun Song, Kewen Pan, Jinmin Meng, Zhiying Xin, Yang Liu, Zheng Zhao, R. Hugh Gong, Jiashen Li
A paraffin microsphere-templated 3D porous EcoFlex sponge was prepared to selectively absorb oil or chemicals from water. The technology for producing this EcoFlex sponge does not need complicated synthesis processes or instruments, and the materials applied in this work are ecofriendly. Therefore, this sponge can be employed in the environmental field. EcoFlex sponges showed high hydrophobicity (contact angle = 140–143°) and oleophilicity. The developed sponge exhibits a porous three-dimensional framework inside with excellent internal connectivity, which contributes both better absorption capacity and faster absorption rate. For instance, the absorption capacity for chloroform can reach 3400 wt %. The absorption capacity of the sponge was optimized using different size of paraffin microspheres and these sponges exhibit relatively high absorption capacity in a short time (2 min). The volume of sponge expands in some oils and organic solvents: the increased volume capacity for hexane can reach 2200%. This sponge also has great recovery capability and durability; it keeps its original shape and absorption capacity after 15 cycles of oil absorption and compression.