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Underoil Superhydrophilic Metal Felt Fabricated by Modifying Ultrathin Fumed Silica Coatings for the Separation of Water-in-Oil Emulsions

Chen, C; Chen, S; Chen, L; Yu, Y; Weng, D; Mahmood, A; Wang, J; ... Carmalt, CJ; + view all (2020) Underoil Superhydrophilic Metal Felt Fabricated by Modifying Ultrathin Fumed Silica Coatings for the Separation of Water-in-Oil Emulsions. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces , 12 (24) pp. 27663-27671. 10.1021/acsami.0c03801. Green open access

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Abstract

Although various superhydrophobic/superoleophilic porous materials have been developed and successfully applied to separate water-in-oil emulsions through the size-sieving mechanism, the separation performance is restricted by their nanoscale pore size severely. In this study, the wettability of underoil water on fumed silica was experimentally observed, and the underlying mechanism was investigated by carrying out theoretical analysis and molecular dynamic (MD) simulations. Further, we present a novel, facile, and an inexpensive technique to fabricate an underoil superhydrophilic metal felt with microscale pores for the separation of water-in-oil emulsions using SiO2 nanoparticles (NPs) as building blocks. The as-prepared underoil superhydrophilic coating is closed-packed and ultrathin (the thickness is approximately hundreds of nanometers), as well as capable of being coated on a metal felt with complex structures without blocking its pores. The as-prepared metal felt could adsorb water droplets directly from oil, which endowed it with the ability to separate both surfactant-free and surfactant-stabilized water-in-oil emulsions with high separation efficiency up to 99.7% even though its pore size is larger than that of the emulsified droplet. The filtration flux for the separation of span 80-stabilized emulsion is up to ∼4000 L·m–2·h–1. Its separation performance is better than most of the other traditional membranes and superwettable materials used for the separation of water-in-oil emulsions. Moreover, the as-prepared metal felt retained outstanding separation performance even after 30 cycles of use, which demonstrated its excellent reusability and durability. Additionally, the distinctive wettability of underoil superhydrophilicity endued coated metal felt with superior antifouling properties toward crude oil. Overall, this study not only provides a new perspective on separating water-in-oil emulsions but also gives a universal approach to develop unique wettability surfaces.

Type: Article
Title: Underoil Superhydrophilic Metal Felt Fabricated by Modifying Ultrathin Fumed Silica Coatings for the Separation of Water-in-Oil Emulsions
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1021/acsami.0c03801
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1021/acsami.0c03801
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: underoil superhydrophilic; fumed silica; nanoparticle; water-in-oil emulsion; oil water separation.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Chemistry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10103544
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