Wuhan, China – Polyurethane foam’s absorbent properties make it particularly appropriate for soaking up offshore oil spills, but the widespread nature of microbes within the marine environment means that antibacterial properties are also requires. Scientists at Wuhan University of Technology have developed a way to confer these properties.
First, they prepared an antibacterial PU foam doped with amino acids, and the surface of the PU was then modified with polydopamine and modified multiwalled carbon nanotubes. They found the resulting modified foam had both antibacterial properties and gave excellent oil–water separation.
The foam was able to absorb 23 times its own weight of oil, and bacterial adhesion was prevented. They suggest that it might have great potential in oil–water separation in challenging situations such as oil spills at sea.
The work has been published in the Journal of Materials Research.