Nanotech 2011

Selective Separation of Oil from Water via Superhydrophobic Magnetic Foams

D. Fragouli, I. Bayer, G. Bertoni, P. Calcagnile, G.C. Anyfantis, R. Cingolani, A. Athanassiou
Italian Institute of Technology, IT

Keywords: superhydrophobicity, oleophilicity, magnetic actuation


We demonstrate an inexpensive and very facile technique, of forming magneticaly actuated superhydrophobic/superoleophilic foams. Specifically, a simple commercial polyurethane foam is used as a substrate on which a small amount of toluene solution containing colloidal iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles is drop casted. Subsequently, Teflon particles were deposited on the surface by a dry transfer technique. Although it is reported that Teflon nanoparticles are sufficiently oleophilic and may be used for the water oil separation, the addition of iron oxide nanoparticles below the Teflon layer on the presented system increases almost by 30% the specific property. Above all the rate of oil absorption is increased by almost 98% proving the very high efficiency of the specific property. Moreover the samples are easily actuated by a weak magnetic field on a water oil interface driving and directing them to the oil polluted area. A detailed microscopy study will be also presented showing the assembly of the nanoparticles and of the Teflon on the polyurethane foam explaining thus the mechanism of the nanoparticles/ Teflon particles assembly while the DMA mechanical study shows that the efficiency of the composite sample is not lost even after various stress cycles.

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