Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, Vol.116, 293-302, December, 2022
Facilely tuning the surface wettability of Cu mesh for multi-functional applications
The Cu meshes with reversible super-wettability have multifunctions of self-cleaning, oil–water separation, floating-oil collection and underwater oil lossless-transportation. However, the facile method to tune the surface wettability and prepare reversibly super-wetting Cu meshes remains a great challenge. In this work, one-step chemical-etching method was used to construct the hierarchically-structured CuO of nano-sheets and micro-clusters on Cu meshes to provide suitable surface roughness essential for super-wettability. The surface wettability of Cu mesh was then facilely tuned by controlling the adsorption and desorption of C-containing species at the Cu mesh surface through C-rich ambience storage and IR irradiation for short duration. The super-wetting transition of Cu meshes between superhydrophobicity/superoleophilicity and superhydrophilicity/underwater-superoleophobicity could repeat for many cycles. Moreover, the super-wetting Cu meshes demonstrated excellent mechanical, physical and chemical stabilities. The switchable super-wettability endowed the Cu meshes with integrated multi-functions, which demonstrated remarkable performance of self-cleaning, oil–water separation, floating-oil collection and underwater oil lossless-transportation. This study suggests that utilizing C-rich ambience storage and IR irradiation to control the content of C-containing species at the Cu mesh surface is a facile and effective way to tune the surface wettability of Cu meshes, which can be easily extended to realize super-wettability transition of various materials.