(710a) Novel 3D-Printed Oleophillic Absorbents
Here we describe efforts to design and produce absorbent materials containing internal capillary networks capable of selectively extracting oil dispersed in water. Unlike conventional methods, tour approach leverages commercial 3D printing technology a vehicle to rapidly produce absorbent materials with a high capacity for oil uptake. The 3D printing approach enables internal porosities to be precisely tailored to match the properties of different petroleum fractions and maximize the selectivity against water. The internal pore architectures function in much the same way as capillary networks in trees which are capable of generating enormous pressure driving forces. The polymer used to construct the absorbent structures is biodegradable and environmentally friendly, and the collected oil can be straightforwardly recovered. We report results of experiments aimed at determining the optimal pore network size and processing conditions to maximize recovery of different petroleum samples dispersed in water. We also evaluate the extent to which the rate of uptake can be used as a parameter to estimate the fluid viscosity.