(465f) Adsorption of Lignin Nanoparticles at Oil-Water Interface: An Ecofriendly Approach to Oil Spill Cleanup

Authors: 
Lee, J. G., Louisiana State University
Larive, L. L., Louisiana State Unviersity
Valsaraj, K. T., Louisiana State University
Bharti, B., Louisiana State University
Synthetic amphiphiles used for managing large-scale oil spills have a toxic impact on the environment and marine life. Developing new oil spill recovery technologies is critical to minimize the environmental and ecological impact of such disasters. Here, we show that a mixture of lignin nanoparticles and 1-pentanol forms a biocompatible alternative to nondegradable synthetic amphiphiles used for oil spill recovery. The pentanol in the mixture generates initial Marangoni flow and confines the spilled oil into a thick slick on the surface of water. While the alcohol solubilizes, lignin nanoparticles irreversibly adsorb onto the oil–water interface and transform into a film of jammed nanoparticles due to compressive stress acting on the interface. This interfacial layer of lignin nanoparticles restricts oil from respreading and locks the oil in its confined state. The herded state of the oil with the interfacial layer of nanoparticles facilitates safe removal of the spilled oil using mechanical methods. The study presents a new principle of using a mixture of heavy alcohol and biocompatible nanoparticles for oil herding applications, thus providing an ecofriendly alternative to oil spill recovery.

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