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The low-cost, high efficient natural material for the separation of oil/water emulsions


Superhydrophilic materials are of great advantages in the case of oily mixture filtration process. In this study, natural sand particles were characterized and tested for oil in water emulsion separation. The sand particles were characterized using standard instruments and based on which the separation mechanisms were proposed. Wettability of the natural sands was checked through WCA and underwater OCA measurements. The top surface morphology of was characterized with SEM (scanning electron microscope). Separation efficiency was evaluated by testing Reduction of Turbidity and Rejection of Total Organic Carbon. Experimental results revealed that: 1) The naturally available cleaned sands show superhydrophilicity and underwater superoleophobicity; 2) Porous Sands bed could realize even higher separation efficiency than commercial PES and Nitrocellulose microfiltration membranes, with rejection of total organic carbon higher than 90% for Dodecane in water Emulsion, higher than 99% for Hexane in water emulsions.