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Low-Density, Mechanical Compressible, Water-Induced Self-Recoverable Graphene Aerogels for Water Treatment

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posted on 15.06.2017, 00:00 by Shibing Ye, Yue Liu, Jiachun Feng
Graphene aerogels (GAs) have demonstrated great promise in water treatment, acting as separation and sorbent materials, because of their high porosity, large surface area, and high hydrophobicity. In this work, we have fabricated a new series of compressible, lightweight (3.3 mg cm–3) GAs through simple cross-linking of graphene oxide (GO) and poly­(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) with glutaraldehyde. It is found that the cross-linked GAs (xGAs) show an interesting water-induced self-recovery ability, which can recover to their original volume even under extremely high compression strain or after vacuum-/air drying. Importantly, the amphiphilicity of xGAs can be adjusted facilely by changing the feeding ratio of GO and PVA and it exhibits affinity from polar water to nonpolar organic liquids depended on its amphiphilicity. The hydrophobic xGAs with low feeding ratio of PVA and GO can be used as adsorbent for organic liquid, while the hydrophilic xGAs with high feeding ratio of PVA and GO can be used as the filter material to remove some water-soluble dye in the wastewater. Because of the convenience of our approach in adjusting the amphiphilicity by simply changing the PVA/GO ratio and excellent properties of the resulting xGAs, such as low density, compressive, and water-induced self-recovery, this work suggests a promising technique to prepare GAs-based materials for the water treatment in different environment with high recyclability and long life.