Superhydrophobic Nickel-Electroplated Carbon Fibers for Versatile Oil/Water Separation with Excellent Reusability and High Environmental Stability

Liu Huang, Longlong Zhang, Jinlong Song*, Xuyue Wang, and Hong Liu*

封面设计 | First Published: 2020-05-27

Superhydrophobic filtrating materials have been widely developed for rapid removal or collection of oils from oil/water mixture due to the increasing water pollution caused by oil spills and oil-contaminated wastewater. However, poor reusability, superhydrophobic failure in harsh environments, and that only heavy oil or light oil was separated from water seriously restricted their practical application. Herein, superhydrophobic carbon fibers were first fabricated using a novel nickel electroplating for versatile oil/water separation with excellent reusability and high environmental stability. The interconnected nanometer-scale nickel grains formed on the micrometer-scale fibers and fluoroalkylsilane molecules enabled the fibers to be superhydrophobic with the water contact angle (CA) of ∼159.1° and superoleophilic with the oil CA of ∼0°. The nickel coating contributed to the improvement of the bonding strength, tensile strength, and oxidation resistance of the fibers. The as-prepared fibers could be applied for the separation of heavy or light oil/water mixtures with separation efficiencies above 99.1%, during which the oil content in the separated water all remained below 78 ppm. The fibers also realized the highly efficient separation of dichloromethane and various harsh environmental solutions such as hot water, acid, alkali, and salt. The superhydrophobicity of the fluorinated nickel-coated carbon fibers still remained even after 100 cycles of separation and 24 months of storage in air, demonstrating outstanding durability of the fibers. These novel superhydrophobic carbon fibers had promising potentials for versatile oil/water separation in practical applications.





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