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High porosity, hydrophobicity, oleophilicity, and robust stability guarantee that the polysiloxane/polyurethane sponge is a perfect candidate for the quick removal of various oils and nonpolar organic solvents. We define the Qe value as the absorbent maximum value. Various types of organic liquids were tested, such as diesel oil, lubricating oil, rapeseed oil, ketones, DMF, THF, hexane and ethanol. The polysiloxane/polyurethane sponge shows high absorption capacity for all above-mentioned organic solvents no matter whether they are heavier or lighter than water (Figure 8(c)). Specifically, the polysiloxane/polyurethane sponge can uptake these organic liquids 50–150 times its own weight. Table 1 lists the absorption capacity of previously reported adsorption. The polysiloxane/polyurethane sponge shows much higher absorption than the reported sorption materials, such as active carbons (<1 time) (Lillo-Rodenas et al. 2005), wool-based nonwoven (9–15 times) (Radetic et al. 2003), polymers (5–25 times) (Li et al. 2011), metal nanoparticles foam (10–40 times) (Wang et al. 2005) and nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC) (40–100 times) (Zhang et al. 2014). Furthermore, the absorption capacity of polysiloxane/polyurethane sponge is also comparable to that of materials with high absorption capacity, for instance, graphene/CNT foam (80–140 times) (Dong et al. 2012), polysiloxane aerogel (80–150 times) (Hayase et al. 2013), graphene sponge (60–160 times) (Liu et al. 2013), carbon microbelts (CMB) aerogel (56–188 times) (Bi et al. 2013a, 2013b) and twisted carbon fiber (TCF) aerogel (50–192 times) (Bi et al. 2013a, 2013b). Meanwhile, the absorption capacity of polysiloxane/polyurethane sponge is still lower than other novel materials, for example, graphene aerogel (120–250 times) (Li et al. 2014) and cellulose nano-fibers (CNF) aerogels (106–312 times) (Wu et al. 2013). Furthermore, we also investigated the pH value (3–11) which influence the absorption of the polysiloxane/polyurethane sponge, the results indicate the pH value has not made significant effect on absorption of the polysiloxane/polyurethane sponge. All in all, the polysiloxane/polyurethane sponge serves as one of the most efficient and promising absorbent materials for the actual removal of environmental organic pollutants.

Table 1

Comparison of various absorbent material

AbsorbentAbsorbed substanceAbsorption capacity (g/g)CostRef.
Wool-based nonwoven Diesel, crude oil, SN 150 9–15 Low 22 
Polymers Oils and organic solvents 5–25 Medium 23 
Activated carbons Benzene, toluene <1 Low 21 
Metal nanoparticles foam Hexane, chloroform, edible oil, etc10–40 High 24 
Graphene/CNT foam Compressor oil, organic solvents 80–140 High 26 
Graphene sponge Oils and organic solvents 60–160 High 28 
NFC Oils and organic solvents 40–100 High 25 
CMB aerogel Oils and organic solvents 56–188 Low 29 
Polysiloxane aerogels Oils and organic solvents 80–150 High 27 
TCF aerogel Oils and organic solvents 50–192 Low 30 
Graphene aerogel Oils and organic solvents 120–250 High 31 
CNF aerogels Oils and organic solvents 106–312 Low 32 
Polysiloxane/polyurethane sponge Oils and organic solvents 50–150 Low Present work 
AbsorbentAbsorbed substanceAbsorption capacity (g/g)CostRef.
Wool-based nonwoven Diesel, crude oil, SN 150 9–15 Low 22 
Polymers Oils and organic solvents 5–25 Medium 23 
Activated carbons Benzene, toluene <1 Low 21 
Metal nanoparticles foam Hexane, chloroform, edible oil, etc10–40 High 24 
Graphene/CNT foam Compressor oil, organic solvents 80–140 High 26 
Graphene sponge Oils and organic solvents 60–160 High 28 
NFC Oils and organic solvents 40–100 High 25 
CMB aerogel Oils and organic solvents 56–188 Low 29 
Polysiloxane aerogels Oils and organic solvents 80–150 High 27 
TCF aerogel Oils and organic solvents 50–192 Low 30 
Graphene aerogel Oils and organic solvents 120–250 High 31 
CNF aerogels Oils and organic solvents 106–312 Low 32 
Polysiloxane/polyurethane sponge Oils and organic solvents 50–150 Low Present work 

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