University of Oulu

Ossi Laitinen, Terhi Suopajärvi, Monika Österberg, and Henrikki Liimatainen. Hydrophobic, Superabsorbing Aerogels from Choline Chloride-Based Deep Eutectic Solvent Pretreated and Silylated Cellulose Nanofibrils for Selective Oil Removal. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2017 9 (29), 25029-25037, DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b06304

Hydrophobic, superabsorbing aerogels from choline chloride-based deep eutectic solvent pretreated and silylated cellulose nanofibrils for selective oil removal

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Author: Laitinen, Ossi1; Suopajärvi, Terhi1; Österberg, Monika2;
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Fibre and Particle Engineering, P.O. Box 4300, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
2Aalto University, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems, School of Chemical Engineering, P.O. Box 16300, FI-00076 Aalto, Espoo, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: American Chemical Society, 2017
Publish Date: 2017-10-03


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.

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Series: ACS applied materials & interfaces
ISSN: 1944-8244
ISSN-E: 1944-8252
ISSN-L: 1944-8244
Volume: 9
Issue: 29
Pages: 25029 - 25037
DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b06304
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 215 Chemical engineering
221 Nanotechnology
Funding: This work was conducted as part of the ERDF-funded VIKE project (Improvement of the oil spill prevention and response with the green chemicals).
Copyright information: This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of a Published Work that appeared in final form in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, copyright © American Chemical Society after peer review and technical editing by the publisher. To access the final edited and published work see