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Featherlight, Mechanically Robust Cellulose Ester Aerogels for Environmental Remediation

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-08-08, 08:13 authored by Anurodh Tripathi, Gregory N. Parsons, Orlando J. Rojas, Saad A. Khan
A unique combination of well-established synthesis procedures involving chemical cross-linking, careful solvent exchange to water, and subsequent freeze drying is used to produce ultralight (4.3 mg/mL) and highly porous (99.7%) cellulose diacetate (CDA) aerogels with honeycomb morphology. This versatile synthesis approach is extended to other nonaqueous polymers with hydroxyl functionalities such as cellulose acetate propionate and cellulose acetate butyrate to produce a single component polymer aerogel. These aerogels demonstrate a maximum water and oil uptake of up to 92 and 112 g/g, respectively. The honeycomb morphology provides a maximum compression strain of 92% without failure and reaches a compressive stress of 350 kPa, for 4 w/v % CDA aerogels (4%), which is higher than that reported for cellulosic aerogels. The 4% CDA aerogel were rendered hydrophobic and oleophilic via chemical vapor deposition with organosilane. The modified CDA aerogel surpasses their counterparts in maintaining their mechanical integrity for fast oil cleanup and efficient oil retention from aqueous media under marine conditions. These aerogels are identified to be reusable and durable for a long period.