Superhydrophobic/superoleophilic corn straw as an eco-friendly oil sorbent for the removal of spilled oil

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Here, a distinctive eco-friendly corn straw material with preferable superhydrophobicity and superoleophilicity for separating oil from liquid mixtures is proposed. The raw corn straw was successfully modified by deposition of SiO2/ZnO composite particles on the fiber surface and subsequent hydrophobic modification with octyltriethoxysilane. The modified corn straw was found to have preferable chemical durability and environmental continuance, with water and oil contact angles of 152° and 0°, respectively, allowing it to both selectively adsorb oils and completely repel water. In addition, it was provided with a high capacity of sorption, making it an ideal candidate for potential oil spill cleanup applications. Due to its natural attributes to float on water, it is convenient for transportation after the oil adsorption is completed. Hence, the modified corn straw provides an eco-friendly alternative for the cleanup of oil spills, as well as a means to relieve the environmental problem of agricultural waste disposal.

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Author information

XT and H-MDW performed the experiments and wrote the paper. DZ and LW performed the experiments. FL and GC contributed in materials preparation and their surface analysis. YX analyzed the data. S-HH conceived designed the experiments. All the experiments were performed under the supervision of S-HH. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Correspondence to Shih-Hsin Ho.

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Tan, X., Wang, H.D., Zang, D. et al. Superhydrophobic/superoleophilic corn straw as an eco-friendly oil sorbent for the removal of spilled oil. Clean Techn Environ Policy (2020) doi:10.1007/s10098-019-01808-8

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  • Oil sorbent
  • Corn straw
  • Superhydrophobic
  • Superoleophilic
  • Octyltriethoxysilane
  • Clean technology