Korean Journal of Chemical Engineering

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 92–100 | Cite as

Hierarchical Al2O3/SiO2 fiber membrane with reversible wettability for on-demand oil/water separation

  • Zhangdi Li
  • Tianhui Shi
  • Tao ZhangEmail author
  • Qing Guo
  • Fengxian QiuEmail author
  • Xuejie Yue
  • Dongya Yang
Separation Technology, Thermodynamics


This work presents an effective method of fabricating hierarchical Al2O3/SiO2 fiber membrane with reversible wettability for on-demand oil/water separation. In this strategy, the superhydrophilic/underwater superoleophobic surfaces are fabricated by in-situ growing hierarchical Al2O3 nanosheets on the SiO2 fiber surfaces that can be used as water-removing materials for oil/water separation. Then, the superhydrophobic/oleophilic surfaces are obtained by surface chemical modification with sodium laurate, which can be used as oil-removing materials for oil/water separation. Interestingly, the reversible wettability transformation of Al2O3/SiO2 fiber membrane can be controlled by the annealing and modification treatment alternately. The as-prepared Al2O3/SiO2 fiber membrane, combining the advantages and overcoming disadvantages of two modes, achieves reversible wettability transitions and on-demand oil/water separation. In addition, the Al2O3/SiO2 fiber membrane shows a significant chemical stability and super-wettability even after five annealing and surface modification cycles, indicating its excellent durability. The separation efficiency in both oil-removing mode and water-removing mode is over 95% for various oil/water mixtures through multiple recycle separation processes. This work not only provides a simple and cost-effective method to fabricate separation membrane with reversible wettability, but also shows great potential in remediation of large-scale oil spillage or organic solvents discharge at different environmental conditions.


Al2O3 Nanosheets Coating Fiber Membrane Reversible Wettability Oil/Water Separation Recyclability 


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Supplementary material

11814_2018_183_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (390 kb)
Hierarchical Al2O3/SiO2 fiber membrane with reversible wettability for on-demand oil/water separation
11814_2018_183_MOESM2_ESM.mp4 (9.6 mb)
Supplementary material, approximately 9.58 MB.
11814_2018_183_MOESM3_ESM.mp4 (60.2 mb)
Supplementary material, approximately 60.1 MB.


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Copyright information

© Korean Institute of Chemical Engineers, Seoul, Korea 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringJiangsu UniversityZhenjiangChina
  2. 2.Institute of Green Chemistry and Chemical Technology, School of Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringJiangsu UniversityZhenjiangChina

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