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July Chementator Briefs

By Chemical Engineering |

  Oil-water separation A complex formed by combining maleic anhydride copolymers with a cationic fluorosurfactant can separate oil from water when coated on a wire mesh. Researchers at Durham University (U.K.; www.durham.ac.uk) devised a method of preparing the complex in a single step. This may render it more readily produced at industrial scales compared to previous efforts, the researchers say. In the complex, fluorinated alkyl chains orient toward the air-solid interface to form a low-surface-energy film. This orientation localizes hydrophilic portions of the polymer closer to the surface via electrostatic interactions, the research team explains in a recent paper in Applied Materials and Interfaces. The resulting complex has an oleophobic outer surface, with a hydrophilic subsurface, and the combination can allow water molecules to penetrate through defects in the fluorinated outer layer, while keeping larger oil molecules on the surface. When coated on stainless-steel mesh, the complex is capable of separating an oil-water mixture by allowing the water to pass, while oil runs off the sloped upper surface, the researchers say. Renewable degreaser Elevance Renewable Sciences, Inc. (Woodridge, Ill.; www.elevance.com) recently…
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