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Green and facile synthesis of sponge-reinforced silica aerogel and its pumping application for oil absorption

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In this paper, we have prepared methyltrimethoxysilane (MTMS)-based sponge-reinforced silica aerogel with low density through facile synthesis within 12 h. The sample’s mechanical property has been improved significantly compared with pure MTMS-based silica aerogel. The aerogels are hydrophobic and oleophilic. And its absorption capacity to the organic liquids is excellent. To overcome the low efficiency of traditional desorption methods (squeezing or distilling), the obtained sample is inserted by a stainless steel pipe which is connected to a pump. The novel design can realize the aerogels’ continuous absorption ability. The pumping rate is significantly affected by the aerogels’ pore size and the organic liquids’ viscosity, which is consistent with the simple proposed model in this paper. Such an apparatus means that a small piece of this sponge-reinforced silica aerogel can continuously collect a large area of floating oil from a water surface with high speed and efficiency.

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This work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program) (2012CB719701) and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (WK2320000032).

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Correspondence to Heping Zhang.

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He, S., Cheng, X., Li, Z. et al. Green and facile synthesis of sponge-reinforced silica aerogel and its pumping application for oil absorption. J Mater Sci 51, 1292–1301 (2016).

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