Oil-water separation by GO

26 April 2014 - Biomimickry

Dong oil water separation 2014.PNGDong et al. report a novel way to separate oil and water using a wire mesh and graphene oxide (DOI). Graphene oxide (GO) is the reaction product of graphite and a strong oxidizing agent. Dong adopted a combination of sulfuric acid, sodium nitrate and hydrogen peroxide in water and noted that the resulting GO is very hydrophilic. A comparison was then made with the known oil-repellent properties of clam shells that exist thanks to a "layered arrangement of hydrophilic inorganic nanosheets and proteins into a bricks-and-mortar nanostructure". As GO can also be considered a multi-layer hydrophilic material it was put into practical use in this very way: a wire mesh (pore diameter 38 micron) was coated with GO multiple times and then a mixture of oil (hexane) and water was forced through it by just gravity. Results: almost 100% of the water passed through and almost 100% of the hexane was rejected. Top speed: 84 Liter per square meter per second.

Trivial: the research was funded by the "Western Light Talent Culture" Project and the "Top Hundred Talents" Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Is the first project aimed at the not-so talented as opposed to the really talented in the second one?