Indexed on: 13 Sep '16Published on: 13 Sep '16Published in: Langmuir
Both the wettability and pore size of the filtration materials are of great importance in oil/water separation. However, conventional strategies mainly focused on fabrication of filtration materials with special wettability, regardless of the pore size. Herein, we demonstrated the design and construction of special wettable nanofibrous mats with tunable pore sizes as filtration materials for selective and efficient separation of oil from oil/water mixtures. The nanofibrous mats with different pore sizes were prepared by the electrospinning approach with stainless steel wire mesh as collector, and the results indicated that the pore size of nanofibrous mat gradually increased with the decrease of mesh number. The wettability behavior results demonstrated that all the nanofibrous mats showed highly hydrophobic and superoleophilic properties. Owing to the special wettability and porous structure the nanofibrous mats were sequentially applied for oil/water separation, and the nanofibrous mats showed excellent ability to separate both layered oil/water mixture and water-in-oil emulsion, moreover, it was also found the oil flux could be highly improved by controlling the pore size of the nanofibrous mat and the oil flux of the nanofibrous mat with the largest pore size was about 10 times higher than the conventional nonwoven mat which had the smallest pore size. The developed nanofibrous mats with controllable pore sizes can therefore be practically used as highly efficient filtration materials in oily water management.