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Fabrication of silica/PVA-co-PE nanofiber membrane for oil/water separation

Yuanli Chen, Hui Fan, Xinlin Zha, Wenwen Wang, Yi Wu, Yi Xiong, Kun Yan, Yuedan Wang, Dong Wang
Published: 5 April 2021
Fashion and Textiles , Volume 8, pp 1-12; doi:10.1186/s40691-021-00252-x

Abstract: High efficiency and anti-pollution oil/water separation membrane has been widely explored and researched. There are a large number of hydroxyl groups on the surface of silica, which has good wettability and can be used for oil-water separation membranes. Hydrophilic silica nanostructures with different morphologies were synthesized by changing templates and contents of trimethylbenzene (TMB). Here, silica nanospheres with radical pores, hollow silica nanospheres and worm-like silica nanotubes were separately sprayed on the PVA-co-PE nanofiber membrane (PM). The abundance of hydroxyl groups and porous structures on PM surfaces enabled the absorption of silica nanospheres through hydrogen bonds. Compared with different silica nanostructures, it was found that the silica/PM exhibited excellent super-hydrophilicity in air and underwater “oil-hating” properties. The PM was mass-produced in our lab through melt-extrusion-phase-separation technique. Therefore, the obtained membranes not only have excellent underwater superoleophobicity but also have a low-cost production. The prepared silica/PM composites were used to separate n-hexane/water, silicone oil/water and peanut oil water mixtures via filtration. As a result, they all exhibited efficient separation of oil/water mixture through gravity-driven filtration.
Keywords: PVA-co-PE / Radical pore / Hollow structure / Silica / Oil/water separation

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