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Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2013 Jun;20(6):4137-45. doi: 10.1007/s11356-012-1397-8. Epub 2012 Dec 13.

Evaluation of polypropylene and poly (butylmethacrylate-co-hydroxyethylmethacrylate) nonwoven material as oil absorbent.

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School of Textile, Tianjin Polytechnic University, Tianjin, 300387, People's Republic of China.


Polypropylene (PP) and poly(butylmethacrylate-co-hydroxyethylmethacrylate) (PBMA-co-HEMA) nonwoven materials as oil absorbents have been fabricated for the first time via melt blown method. As-prepared nonwovens were investigated in terms of mass per unit area, density, air permeability, contact angle, and morphology observations for fiber diameter distribution and single fiber surface by a field emission scanning electron microscope. The nonwovens are demonstrated as fast and efficient absorbents for various kinds of oils with oil absorbency up to seven to ten times their own weight. The nonwovens show excellent water repulsion but superoleophilic properties. The measured contact angles for water and toluene are more than 127° and ca. 0°, respectively. The addition of PBMA-co-HEMA makes the nonwoven surface more hydrophobic while conserving superoleophilicity. Compared with PP nonwoven, broad diameter distribution of the blend nonwoven is attributed to poor melt fluidity of PBMA-co-HEMA. In terms of single fiber, coarse surface and the presence of point-like convexities lead to the fibers being more readily wetted by oil. More interesting, oil-water separation and oil recovery can be easily carried out by filter and absorption-desorption process, the recovered materials contained hardly any oil droplet and could be reused for next cycles.

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