Methyltrichlorosilane functionalized silica nanoparticles-treated superhydrophobic cotton for oil–water separation

Abstract

Water pollution due to oil spills has become a significant concern in recent times for the marine ecosystem. The use of oleophilic/hydrophobic sorbents for oil–water separation has gained a lot of attention as an economical and environment-friendly solution. Herein, we developed a superhydrophobic/superoleophilic cotton by silica nanoparticles (~ 800 nm) treatment followed by surface functionalization with methyltrichlorosilane (MTCS). X-ray diffraction, field emission scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy studies reveal that the formation of pseudo-amorphous SiO2 NPs and a C–Si–O coverage on cotton fiber render it superhydrophobic with increased surface roughness. The MTCS/SiO2-treated cotton exhibited contact angles of ~ 173 ± 2° and 0° on the water–cotton and oil–cotton interface, respectively. Moreover, the MTCS/SiO2-treated cotton demonstrated superhydrophobicity over the entire pH range, with excellent absorption capacities for various oil–water mixtures ranging from ~ 30 to 40 times its weight.

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Acknowledgment

Dr. Partha Saha gratefully acknowledges the financial support received from Department of Science and Technology, Science and Engineering Research Board (DST-SERB) (Grant Number ECR/2016/000959).

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Correspondence to Partha Saha.

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Dashairya, L., Barik, D.D. & Saha, P. Methyltrichlorosilane functionalized silica nanoparticles-treated superhydrophobic cotton for oil–water separation. J Coat Technol Res 16, 1021–1032 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11998-018-00177-z

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Keywords

  • Superhydrophobicity
  • Absorption capacity
  • Contact angle
  • Methyltrichlorosilane