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Poly(dimethylsiloxane) Oil Absorbent with a Three-Dimensionally Interconnected Porous Structure and Swellable Skeleton

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posted on 23.10.2013, 00:00 by Aijuan Zhang, Mingjie Chen, Can Du, Huizhang Guo, Hua Bai, Lei Li
Cleanup of oil spills is a worldwide challenge to prevent serious environmental pollution. A new kind of poly­(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) oil absorbent with high absorption capacity and excellent reusability was prepared and used for oil/water separation. The preparation process of PDMS oil absorbents involves direct curing of a PDMS prepolymer in a p-xylene solution in the presence of commercial sugar particles, which is simple and economic. PDMS oil absorbents have interconnected pores and a swellable skeleton, combining the advantages of porous materials and gels. Absorption capacities of PDMS oil absorbents are 4–34 g/g for various oils and organic solvents, which are 3 times that reported previously. Owing to their hydrophobicity and oleophilicity, the as-obtained PDMS oil absorbents can selectively collect oils or organic solvents from water. The absorption process can be finished within tens of seconds. Furthermore, the absorbed oils or organic solvents can be recovered by compressing the oil absorbents, and after 20 absorbing/recovering cycles, PDMS oil absorbents show little loss of their absorption capacities and own weights.