Development of efficient materials for the separation of oils/organic solvents from water is of prime ecological importance as their negative impact on the aquatic environment is huge. In the present work, for the first time we report the utilization of biodegradable cellulose kitchen wipe sponge as a base material for the oil sorption and cellulose fabric as a filter for the filtration of oil, after functionalization with polythiophene. The water contact angles of the modified cellulose sponge and modified cellulose fabric being 126.6° and 151.6°, respectively substantiate the hydrophobic nature of the materials post modification. Oil absorption kinetic studies show a very rapid saturation period (90 min) for the modified cellulose sponge with a maximum absorption capacity of 7.5 g g-1. By a simple mechanical squeezing process, the absorbed oil/organic solvent is recycled. The sponge is reused for 5 cycles with 70% retention in the initial absorption efficiency. On the other hand, the modified cellulose fabric is used as a continuous filter for a quick separation of oil (and organic solvents) from water. The oil sorbents reported make use of readily available and economically viable base materials with a simple modification which may allow their use for the removal of oil on large scales. © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2017.
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N. Durgadevi and Dr. Swarnalatha V, “Polythiophene functionalized hydrophobic cellulose kitchen wipe sponge and cellulose fabric for effective oil-water separation”, RSC Advances, vol. 7, pp. 34866-34874, 2017.