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Recover oil from messy spills with this mesh

By Paul Grad |

A novel mesh for oil-water separation with opposite wettability to traditional materials has been developed by a group of researchers from Beijing, China — the Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences, Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences (www.iccas.ac.cn); School of Chemistry and Environment, Beihang University (ev.buaa.edu.cn); Dept. of Chemistry, Tsinghua University (www.tsinghua.edu.cn); and Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (gucas.ac.cn). The new material is a superhydrophilic and underwater superoleophobic hydrogel-coated mesh in an oil/water/solid three-phase system. It consists of rough nanostructured hydrogel coatings and microscale porous metal substrates. The researchers claim the new material can selectively and with an efficiency of better than 99%, separate water from oil-water mixtures, such as vegetable oil, gasoline, diesel, and even crude-petroleum oil-water mixtures without any extra power. The underwater superoleophobic interface prevents the coated mesh from fouling by oil, making it easy to recycle the oil and the materials. Hydrogel consists of a cross-linked network with interstitial spaces that fill up with water, making it a typical hydrophilic material. The…
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