Calcium Sulfate Hemihydrate Nanowires: One Robust Material in Separation of Water from Water-in-Oil Emulsion

Environ Sci Technol. 2017 Sep 19;51(18):10519-10525. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.7b02901. Epub 2017 Sep 8.

Abstract

Here we report a facile and cost-effective wet-chemical approach to the synthesis of calcium sulfate hemihydrate nanowires (HH NWs, CaSO4·0.5H2O), and their robust performance in immobilizing water molecules to the crystal lattice of CaSO4 and then separating them from a surfactant-stabilized water-in-oil emulsion (mean droplet size of around 1.2 μm). Every gram of HH NWs are capable of treating 20 mL emulsion (water content: 10.00 mg mL-1) with a separation efficiency of 99.23% at room temperature, and this efficiency can be further improved by tuning the surface charge density of HH. Along with the water immobilization, HH NWs are converted to large cubic-like calcium sulfate dihydrate microparticles (DH, CaSO4·2H2O, mean size: 50 μm), and the accompanied size increment enables efficient collection of the solid phase from oil. DH microparticles can be regenerated into HH NWs, which retain the high performance of the original NWs. Such a unique renewable feature improves the economics of our method and simultaneously prevents the secondary pollution. Further economic evaluation finds that purification of every cubic meters of emulsion (water content: 10.00 mg mL-1) will cost about $34.18 for HH NWs, much lower than the $490.78 for the previously reported HH NPs, and $11 052.05-$23 420.32 Fe3O4 NP-based adsorbents, respectively. With the high efficiency, easy collection, low cost, and renewable feature, HH NWs show highly promising applications in the field of oil purification and recycle.

MeSH terms

  • Calcium Sulfate*
  • Emulsions
  • Nanowires*
  • Surface-Active Agents
  • Water

Substances

  • Emulsions
  • Surface-Active Agents
  • Water
  • Calcium Sulfate