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Superhydrophobic Polyurethane Foam Coated with Polysiloxane-Modified Clay Nanotubes for Efficient and Recyclable Oil Absorption

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posted on 18.06.2019, 00:00 by Fan Wu, Kylene Pickett, Abhishek Panchal, Mingxian Liu, Yuri Lvov
Superhydrophobic polyurethane foam (PUF) is prepared by surface coating of halloysite nanotubes. The nanotubes were first modified by surface grafting with hexadecyltrimethoxysilane, followed by assembly on the PUF by dip coating. This treatment makes the water contact angle of the modified PUF higher than 150°. The modified foam has a highly selective absorption of oils and organic solvents. The absorption ratios of the modified PUF for chloroform and dichloroethane reached 104 and 74, respectively. Such superhydrophobic foam can maintain the oil absorption performance even after 10 absorption–squeezing cycles, demonstrating good recyclability. The modified foam can pick up oil or organic solvent continuously and quickly from water’s surface. This hydrophobic nanotube coating also enhances the flame retardancy of the PUF, and the modified foam will extinguish itself maintaining its integrity. The preparation method for hydrophobic and flame-retardant PUF by coating with natural clay nanotubes is a simple process and promises scalable applications in oil–water separation.