Applied Surface Science, Vol.428, 338-347, 2018
One-step fabrication of novel superhydrophobic and superoleophilic sponge with outstanding absorbency and flame-retardancy for the selective removal of oily organic solvent from water
Absorbent materials integrated with superhydrophobicity, superoleophilicity and flame-retardancy are highly desired in the adsorption/removal of flammable oils/organic compounds as well as reducing the risk of fire and explosion. Here, one-step fabrication of novel superhydrophobic and superoleophilic sponge with outstanding absorbency and flame-retardancy was presented. Using raw melamine (ME) sponge as the supporting matrix, the formation of polydopamine (PDA) nanoaggregates via in-situ selfpolymerization of high-concentrated dopamine and the covalent grafting of hydrophobic n-dodecylthiol (DT) onto PDA were combined in a feasible alkaline water/ethanol medium. As investigated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), the as-prepared ME/PDA/DT sponge possessed hierarchical structure with submicron PDA nanoaggregates containing DT motif (low surface energy) on 3D interconnected porous network. It exhibited superhydrophobic (water contact angle 157.7 degrees) and superoleophilic (oily/organic solvent contact angle 0 degrees properties. Owing to the highly porous structure, superhydrophobic property, chemical and mechanical stability, the ME/PDA/DT sponge exhibited outstanding absorbency properties of oily organic solvents including fast absorption kinetics, high absorption capacity, and easy reusability. Also, the ME/PDA/DT sponge could be used for one-line continuous organic solvent/water separation. More interestingly, the ME/PDA/DT sponge demonstrated improved flame-retardant property as compared to the intrinsic flame-retardant nature of the raw melamine sponge. Consequently, the risk of fire and explosion was expected to reduce when the fabricated sponge was used as an absorbent for flammable oils and organic compounds. The ease of the one-step superhydrophobic/superoleophilic modification and the promising feature of the obtained materials exhibit great potential for application in oils/organic solvents clean-up. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.