Hydrophobic, Superabsorbing Aerogels from Choline Chloride-Based Deep Eutectic Solvent Pretreated and Silylated Cellulose Nanofibrils for Selective Oil Removal

Ossi Laitinen*, Terhi Suopajärvi, Monika Österberg, Henrikki Liimatainen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

83 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Superabsorbents are highly appealing materials for use in cleaning up oil and chemical spills. However, the development of a low-cost, highly efficient superabsorbent remains a major challenge. This paper demonstrates a straightforward method of producing a cellulose nanofibril aerogel that is low-cost, ultralight, highly porous, hydrophobic, and reusable superabsorbing cellulose nanofibril aerogel from recycled waste fibers using a simple, environmentally friendly nanofibrillation treatment involving deep eutectic solvent and freeze-drying. Nanofibrillation and hydrophobic modification (silylation) of waste cellulose fibers resulted in nanofibril sponges with ultralow density (0.0029 g/cm3) and high porosity (up to 99.81%) after freeze-drying. These sponges exhibited excellent absorption performances for various oils and organic solvents and were reusable. In particular, the nanofibril aerogels showed selectivity in absorbing marine diesel oil from an oil-water mixture and possessed ultrahigh absorption capacities of up to 142.9 g/g, much higher than those of the commercial absorbent materials (i.e., polypropylene-based material) (8.1-24.6 g/g) that were used as references. The absorbed oil could easily be recovered by means of simple mechanical squeezing. In addition, the nanofibril sponges exhibited excellent reusability, maintaining a high capacity to absorb diesel oil for at least 30 cycles at 71.4-81.0% of capacity compared to a fresh absorbent. The above-mentioned advantages make cellulose nanofibril superabsorbents created from recycled waste cellulose fibers promising material for cleaning oil and chemical spills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25029-25037
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Volume9
Issue number29
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • aerogel
  • cellulose nanofiber
  • deep eutectic solvent
  • foam
  • nanocellulose
  • oil removal
  • silylation
  • sponge

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