A robust salt-tolerant superoleophobic alginate/graphene oxide aerogel for efficient oil/water separation in marine environments

Abstract

Marine pollution caused by frequent oil spill accidents has brought about tremendous damages to marine ecological environment. Therefore, the facile large-scale preparation of three-dimensional (3D) porous functional materials with special wettability is in urgent demand. In this study, we report a low-cost and salt-tolerant superoleophobic aerogel for efficient oil/seawater separation. The aerogel is prepared through incorporating graphene oxide (GO) into alginate (ALG) matrix by using a facile combined freeze-drying and ionic cross-linking method. The 3D structure interconnected by ALG and GO ensures the high mechanical strength and good flexibility of the developed aerogel. The rough microstructure combined with the hydrophilicity of the aerogel ensures its excellent underwater superoleophobic and antifouling properties. High-content polysaccharides contained in the aerogel guarantees its excellent salt-tolerant property. More impressively, the developed aerogel can retain its underwater superoleophobicity even after 30 days of immersion in seawater, indicating its good stability in marine environments. Furthermore, the aerogel could separate various oil/water mixtures with high separation efficiency (>99%) and good reusability (at least 40 cycles). The facile fabrication process combined with the excellent separation performance makes it promising for practical applications in marine environments.

DOI: 10.1038/srep46379

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Li2017ARS, title={A robust salt-tolerant superoleophobic alginate/graphene oxide aerogel for efficient oil/water separation in marine environments}, author={Yuqi Li and Hui Zhang and Mizi Fan and Peitao Zheng and Jiandong Zhuang and Lihui Chen}, booktitle={Scientific reports}, year={2017} }