Facile construction of robust superhydrophobic tea polyphenol/Fe@cotton fabric for self-cleaning and efficient oil–water separation

  • 858 Accesses

  • 15 Citations


Superhydrophobic cotton fabrics consisting of tea polyphenol/Fe hybrid coatings on cotton fabrics (TP/Fe@cotton fabrics) were fabricated via a facile, highly efficient, and environmentally friendly method. No fluorinated substances or organic solvents were used in the preparation process that involved only Fe2+, natural substances, and water. The original and modified cotton fabrics were characterized by scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. A coating with a uniform 3D bulge-like form and many closely arranged microparticles was coated onto the surface of the TP/Fe@cotton fabric. Compared to the original cotton fabric, the TP/Fe@cotton fabric showed a higher superhydrophobicity, with a water contact angle of approximately 161° and sliding angle about 15°. The TP/Fe@cotton fabric could withstand 1000 cycles of abrasion without an apparent decrease of the contact angle, and was also stable under a variety of harsh environmental conditions. In addition, the TP/Fe@cotton fabric demonstrated an excellent self-cleaning performance and a highly efficient separation of various oil–water mixtures. Furthermore, its separation performance remained excellent even under harsh conditions or after being reused ten times. This facile, highly efficient, and environmentally friendly preparation method has potential prospects for industrialization, and the superhydrophobic TP/Fe@cotton fabric has potential value in practical applications such as oil–water separation.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Access options

Buy single article

Instant unlimited access to the full article PDF.

US$ 39.95

Price includes VAT for USA

Subscribe to journal

Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.

US$ 199

This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.

Scheme 1
Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10


  1. Akhavan O, Kalaee M, Alavi ZS, Ghiasi SMA, Esfandiar A (2012) Increasing the antioxidant activity of green tea polyphenols in the presence of iron for the reduction of graphene oxide. Carbon 50(8):3015–3025.

  2. Biesinger MC, Payne BP, Grosvenor AP, Lau LWM, Gerson AR, Smart RSC (2011) Resolving surface chemical states in XPS analysis of first row transition metals, oxides and hydroxides: Cr, Mn, Fe, Co and Ni. Appl Surf Sci 257(7):2717–2730.

  3. Cai S, Zhang Y, Zhang H, Yan H, Lv H, Jiang B (2014) Sol–gel preparation of hydrophobic silica antireflective coatings with low refractive index by base/acid two-step catalysis. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 6(14):11470–11475.

  4. Cao Y, Zhang X, Tao L, Li K, Xue Z, Feng L et al (2013) Mussel-inspired chemistry and michael addition reaction for efficient oil/water separation. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 5(10):4438–4442.

  5. Cao C, Ge M, Huang J, Li S, Deng S, Zhang S et al (2016) Robust fluorine-free superhydrophobic PDMS-ormosil@fabrics for highly effective self-cleaning and efficient oil–water separation. J Mater Chem A 4(31):12179–12187.

  6. Cao N, Yang B, Barras A, Szunerits S, Boukherroub R (2017) Polyurethane sponge functionalized with superhydrophobic nanodiamond particles for efficient oil/water separation. Chem Eng J 307(Supplement C):319–325.

  7. Chen Y, Wang XH, Li J, Lu JL, Wang FS (2007) Long-term anticorrosion behaviour of polyaniline on mild steel. Corros Sci 49(7):3052–3063.

  8. Chen F-F, Zhu Y-J, Xiong Z-C, Sun T-W, Shen Y-Q (2016) Highly flexible superhydrophobic and fire-resistant layered inorganic paper. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 8(50):34715–34724.

  9. Cheng T, He R, Zhang Q, Zhan X, Chen F (2015) Magnetic particle-based super-hydrophobic coatings with excellent anti-icing and thermoresponsive deicing performance. J Mater Chem A 3(43):21637–21646.

  10. Chu Z, Feng Y, Seeger S (2015) Oil/water separation with selective superantiwetting/superwetting surface materials. Angew Chem Int Ed 54(8):2328–2338.

  11. Crick CR, Bear JC, Kafizas A, Parkin IP (2012) Superhydrophobic photocatalytic surfaces through direct incorporation of titania nanoparticles into a polymer matrix by aerosol assisted chemical vapor deposition. Adv Mater 24(26):3505–3508.

  12. Cui H-W, Suganuma K, Uchida H (2015) Highly stretchable, electrically conductive textiles fabricated from silver nanowires and cupro fabrics using a simple dipping-drying method. Nano Res 8(5):1604–1614.

  13. Fang F, Tong B, Du T, Zhang X, Meng Y, Liu X et al (2016) Unique nanobrick wall nanocoating for flame-retardant cotton fabric via layer-by-layer assembly technique. Cellulose 23(5):3341–3354.

  14. Gao X, Yan X, Yao X, Xu L, Zhang K, Zhang J et al (2007) The dry-style antifogging properties of mosquito compound eyes and artificial analogues prepared by soft lithography. Adv Mater 19(17):2213–2217.

  15. Gu S, Yang L, Huang W, Bu Y, Chen D, Huang J et al (2017) Fabrication of hydrophobic cotton fabrics inspired by polyphenol chemistry. Cellulose 24(6):2635–2646.

  16. Lambert JD, Elias RJ (2010) The antioxidant and pro-oxidant activities of green tea polyphenols: a role in cancer prevention. Arch Biochem Biophys 501(1):65–72.

  17. Li J, Yan L, Ouyang Q, Zha F, Jing Z, Li X et al (2014) Facile fabrication of translucent superamphiphobic coating on paper to prevent liquid pollution. Chem Eng J 246(Supplement C):238–243.

  18. Obaid M, Barakat NAM, Fadali OA, Motlak M, Almajid AA, Khalil KA (2015) Effective and reusable oil/water separation membranes based on modified polysulfone electrospun nanofiber mats. Chem Eng J 259(Supplement C):449–456.

  19. Pakdel E, Daoud WA, Afrin T, Sun L, Wang X (2017) Enhanced antimicrobial coating on cotton and its impact on UV protection and physical characteristics. Cellulose 24(9):4003–4015.

  20. Piltan S, Seyfi J, Hejazi I, Davachi SM, Khonakdar HA (2016) Superhydrophobic filter paper via an improved phase separation process for oil/water separation: study on surface morphology, composition and wettability. Cellulose 23(6):3913–3924.

  21. Rezaei S, Manoucheri I, Moradian R, Pourabbas B (2014) One-step chemical vapor deposition and modification of silica nanoparticles at the lowest possible temperature and superhydrophobic surface fabrication. Chem Eng J 252(Supplement C):11–16.

  22. Sani R, Beitollahi A (2008) Phase evolution and magnetic properties of Co/α-Fe2O3 powder mixtures with different molar ratios treated by mechanical alloying. J Non Cryst Solids 354(40):4635–4643.

  23. Srinivasan S, Kleingartner JA, Gilbert JB, Cohen RE, Milne AJB, McKinley GH (2015) Sustainable drag reduction in turbulent Taylor–Couette flows by depositing sprayable superhydrophobic surfaces. Phys Rev Lett 114(1):014501.

  24. Sung YH, Kim YD, Choi H-J, Shin R, Kang S, Lee H (2015) Fabrication of superhydrophobic surfaces with nano-in-micro structures using UV-nanoimprint lithography and thermal shrinkage films. Appl Surf Sci 349(Supplement C):169–173.

  25. Suryaprabha T, Sethuraman MG (2017) Fabrication of copper-based superhydrophobic self-cleaning antibacterial coating over cotton fabric. Cellulose 24(1):395–407.

  26. Thakur S, Karak N (2015) Alternative methods and nature-based reagents for the reduction of graphene oxide: a review. Carbon 94(Supplement C):224–242.

  27. Vasiljević J, Zorko M, Tomšič B, Jerman I, Simončič B (2016) Fabrication of the hierarchically roughened bumpy-surface topography for the long-lasting highly oleophobic “lotus effect” on cotton fibres. Cellulose 23(5):3301–3318.

  28. Wang T, Jin X, Chen Z, Megharaj M, Naidu R (2014a) Green synthesis of Fe nanoparticles using eucalyptus leaf extracts for treatment of eutrophic wastewater. Sci Total Environ 466–467(Supplement C):210–213.

  29. Wang Z, Fang C, Megharaj M (2014b) Characterization of iron-polyphenol nanoparticles synthesized by three plant extracts and their fenton oxidation of azo dye. ACS Sustain Chem Eng 2(4):1022–1025.

  30. Wang D, Zhao A, Li L, He Q, Guo H, Sun H et al (2015) Bioinspired ribbed hair arrays with robust superhydrophobicity fabricated by micro/nanosphere lithography and plasma etching. RSC Adv 5(117):96404–96411.

  31. Watson GS, Gellender M, Watson JA (2014) Self-propulsion of dew drops on lotus leaves: a potential mechanism for self cleaning. Biofouling 30(4):427–434.

  32. Wu LYL, Shao Q, Wang XC, Zheng HY, Wong CC (2012) Hierarchical structured sol–gel coating by laser textured template imprinting for surface superhydrophobicity. Soft Matter 8(23):6232–6238.

  33. Wu M, Ma B, Pan T, Chen S, Sun J (2016) Silver-nanoparticle-colored cotton fabrics with tunable colors and durable antibacterial and self-healing superhydrophobic properties. Adv Func Mater 26(4):569–576.

  34. Yamashita T, Hayes P (2008) Analysis of XPS spectra of Fe2+ and Fe3+ ions in oxide materials. Appl Surf Sci 254(8):2441–2449.

  35. Yang CS, Yang G, Chung JY, Lee M-J, Li C (2001) Tea and tea polyphenols in cancer prevention. In: Nutrition and cancer prevention: new insights into the role of phytochemicals. Springer, Boston, pp 39–53.

  36. Yang W, Li J, Zhou P, Zhu L, Tang H (2017) Superhydrophobic copper coating: switchable wettability, on-demand oil–water separation, and antifouling. Chem Eng J 327(Supplement C):849–854.

  37. Yu S, Guo Z, Liu W (2015) Biomimetic transparent and superhydrophobic coatings: from nature and beyond nature. Chem Commun 51(10):1775–1794.

  38. Zang D, Liu F, Zhang M, Niu X, Gao Z, Wang C (2015) Superhydrophobic coating on fiberglass cloth for selective removal of oil from water. Chem Eng J 262(Supplement C):210–216.

  39. Zhang J, Li B, Wu L, Wang A (2013) Facile preparation of durable and robust superhydrophobic textiles by dip coating in nanocomposite solution of organosilanes. Chem Commun 49(98):11509–11511.

  40. Zhang F, Ren H, Shen L, Tong G, Deng Y (2017a) Micro–nano structural engineering of filter paper surface for high selective oil–water separation. Cellulose 24(7):2913–2924.

  41. Zhang W, Li Y, Liu J, Li B, Wang S (2017b) Fabrication of hierarchical poly (vinylidene fluoride) micro/nano-composite membrane with anti-fouling property for membrane distillation. J Membr Sci 53(Supplement C):258–267.

  42. Zhao J, Deng B, Lv M, Li J, Zhang Y, Jiang H et al (2013) Graphene oxide-based antibacterial cotton fabrics. Adv Healthc Mater 2(9):1259–1266.

  43. Zhou X, Zhang Z, Xu X, Guo F, Zhu X, Men X et al (2013) Robust and durable superhydrophobic cotton fabrics for oil/water separation. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 5(15):7208–7214.

Download references


This work was supported by the National Nature Science Foundation of China (51741301), the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD-2014-9), and the Postgraduate Research and Practice Innovation Program of Jiangsu Province (KYCX17_1989).

Author information

Correspondence to Tieling Xing.

Electronic supplementary material

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Zhou, Q., Chen, G. & Xing, T. Facile construction of robust superhydrophobic tea polyphenol/Fe@cotton fabric for self-cleaning and efficient oil–water separation. Cellulose 25, 1513–1525 (2018) doi:10.1007/s10570-018-1654-1

Download citation


  • Cotton fabric
  • Superhydrophobic
  • Oil–water separation
  • Tea polyphenol
  • Ferrous ion
  • Environmentally friendly