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Scalable Top-to-Bottom Design on Low Tortuosity of Anisotropic Carbon Aerogels for Fast and Reusable Passive Capillary Absorption and Separation of Organic Leakages

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posted on 03.12.2019, 20:46 by Caichao Wan, Yue Jiao, Song Wei, Xianjun Li, Wenyan Tian, Yiqiang Wu, Jian Li
Creation of sustainable, cost-effective, and scalable absorbents with ideal absorption properties is a worldwide challenge because many high-performance absorbents are still restricted in laboratory scope due to several critical defects (like complex and eco-unfriendly synthesis process, high cost, and difficulty in large-scale production). Herein, a facile and scalable top-to-bottom design is proposed to create a kind of novel anisotropic carbon aerogels with low tortuosity of stacked laminated structure, derived from the hierarchical cellular channels of balsa wood. By virtue of this unique structure and favorable oleophilicity, fast passive capillary absorption with low flow resistance is achieved (as demonstrated by the theoretical modeling). As a result, the anisotropic carbon aerogels have quite sensitive selectivity to separate organic pollutants from water, broad-spectrum and high absorption capacity for different organic liquids (13 277–31 597 mg g–1), and superior recyclability (98.7% absorption capacity retention after five cycles). Combining these outstanding performances with a cheap preparation strategy as well as good environmental friendliness, this work provides a kind of potential scalable materials for efficient reusable absorption and separation of organic leakages.