A comparative study for oil-absorbing performance of octadecyltrichlorosilane treated Calotropis gigantea fiber and kapok fiber

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A hydrophobic layer was formed on smooth surfaces of Calotropis gigantea fiber (CGF) and kapok fiber (KF) by adsorption of octadecyltrichlorosilane (OTS) from a toluene solution and then a comparative study was carried out on the basis of various characterizations and oil-absorbing performances for the two natural plant fibers. The resulting OTS-CGF and OTS-KF exhibit outstanding hydrophobic–oleophilic property and an enhancement in the oil-absorbing capacity for engine oil, soybean oil and kerosene. Moreover, the fibers can be utilized for rapid and selective removal of oil spills on the water surface. Compared to KF, CGF seems to be acid-resistant during the hydrolysis process of OTS, with the result that the oil-absorbing capacity exhibits no significant decrease after ten cycles. Eventually, CGF-based material can be further developed for oil–water separation, demonstrating its potential as a promising alternative for treatment of oil-containing wastewaters.

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The authors thank for the joint support of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21477135), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. lzujbky-2015-127), and the Hui-Chun Chin and Tsung-Dao Lee Chinese Undergraduate Research Endowment (No. JZH0028).

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Correspondence to Yian Zheng.

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Zheng, Y., Cao, E., Tu, L. et al. A comparative study for oil-absorbing performance of octadecyltrichlorosilane treated Calotropis gigantea fiber and kapok fiber. Cellulose 24, 989–1000 (2017) doi:10.1007/s10570-016-1155-z

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  • Calotropis gigantea fiber
  • Kapok fiber
  • Octadecyltrichlorosilane
  • Oil-absorbing performance
  • Oil–water separation