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Keywords:

  • absorption;
  • carbon;
  • electron microscopy;
  • microporous materials;
  • X-ray diffraction

Abstract

Highly porous activated carbon with a large surface area and pore volume was synthesized by KOH activation using commercially available activated carbon as a precursor. By modification with polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), highly porous activated carbon showed superhydrophobicity with a water contact angle of 163.6°. The changes in wettability of PDMS- treated highly porous activated carbon were attributed to the deposition of a low-surface-energy silicon coating onto activated carbon (confirmed by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy), which had microporous characteristics (confirmed by XRD, SEM, and TEM analyses). Using an easy dip-coating method, superhydrophobic activated carbon-coated sponges were also fabricated; those exhibited excellent absorption selectivity for the removal of a wide range of organics and oils from water, and also recyclability, thus showing great potential as efficient absorbents for the large-scale removal of organic contaminants or oil spills from water.