One-step removal of insoluble oily compounds and water-miscible contaminants from water by underwater superoleophobic graphene oxide-coated cotton

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We prepared a superhydrophilic/underwater superoleophobic graphene oxide (GO)-coated cotton for wastewater purification by a simple approach to overcome the difficulty of simultaneously removing insoluble oily compounds and water-miscible contaminants from water. GO can be attached onto the surface of cotton fibers by means of hydrogen bonds between oxygen-containing groups of GO and cotton, with a mass fraction of 6.9 wt%. Large numbers of oxygen-containing groups, combined with the inherent three-dimensional network structure, lead to a water contact angle of 0° and an underwater oil contact angle of 170° ± 1° on the GO-coated cotton. Various oil-in-water emulsions, dye wastewaters and even mixtures of both can be economically and effectively purified by using GO-coated cotton. Most of oils can be filtered with removal efficiency of over 99% and dyes can be absorbed with removal efficiency of over 97%. Our results show that the GO-coated cotton can be regenerated and maintain this high removal efficiency after 50 separation cycles. We anticipate that underwater superoleophobic GO-coated cotton would be an ideal wastewater purification material for practical applications.

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This work was supported by the National Nature Science Foundation of China (51602132), the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province, China (BK20140562), and the Special Financial Grant from the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2016T90424).

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Correspondence to Jin Yang or Changsheng Li.

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Zhu, D., Xia, Y., Yang, J. et al. One-step removal of insoluble oily compounds and water-miscible contaminants from water by underwater superoleophobic graphene oxide-coated cotton. Cellulose 24, 5605–5614 (2017) doi:10.1007/s10570-017-1514-4

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  • Underwater superoleophobicity
  • Graphene oxide
  • Cotton
  • Water purification