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Facile Fabrication of Marine Algae-Based Robust Superhydrophobic Sponges for Efficient Oil Removal from Water

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posted on 21.08.2020, 05:43 authored by Ting Dong, Qiang Li, Kai Nie, Wei Jiang, Shouzhen Li, Xinyi Hu, Guangting Han
Water pollution caused by oil spillages has aroused worldwide attention. Therefore, it is of great significance to develop low-cost, environmentally friendly materials to remove oil contaminants from water. Herein, a “green” superhydrophobic sponge made from marine algae was fabricated by one-step growth of silicone nanofilaments onto a AgNP-decorated alginate sponge via chemical vapor deposition of an azeotrope of (CH3)3SiCl and SiCl4. The reaction of the azeotrope with the alginate sponge was termed “instant”, as it took only a few minutes (5 min) at room temperature to achieve superhydrophobicity (152.0°). Such sponges resist high temperatures, UV irradiation, organic solvents, and mechanical abrasion without losing the superhydrophobicity. The sponges absorbed oil droplets within seconds (1.3–7.0 s) with 11.7–17.1 g/g of sorption capacities for oils of different viscous levels (0.56–1775.00 mPa·s). These sponges could retain 90% of the initial oil sorption capacities after 10 consecutive oil sorption/desorption cycles. Benefiting from the superhydrophobicity and superoleophilicity, the sponges also exhibited high efficiency in oil/water mixture separation. Once the oil/water mixture was injected into the sponge, oil drops were retained in inner pores while water was rejected and spouted from the surface. These excellent performances make the resultant sponge a competitive material for oil spill emergency remediation.