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Demonstrating Aqueous-Phase Low-Molecular-Weight-Gel Wicking of Oil for the Remediation of Oil Spilled into Surface Water

Walls, Daniel J. and Espitalié, Emilie and Hum, Gabriel and Chen, Jun and Gattrell, Michael and Li, Anwu and Frostad, John M. Demonstrating Aqueous-Phase Low-Molecular-Weight-Gel Wicking of Oil for the Remediation of Oil Spilled into Surface Water. (2020) Langmuir, 36 (44). 13155-13165. ISSN 0743-7463

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.langmuir.0c00917


Oils spilled into surface water require effective and timely treatment. In this paper, we report on a low-molecular-weight gelator that can form gels in organic and aqueous phases. The aqueous gel was observed to absorb oils, which is proposed as a new class of materials for remediating oil spilled into surface water. The gels and the low molecular-weight gelator have both fundamental and applied significance. Fundamentally, identifying the mechanisms that govern the formation of these gels and their resultant mechanical properties is of interest. Subsequently, these fundamental insights aid in the optimization of these gels for addressing spilled oil. First, we briefly compare the organic and aqueous gels qualitatively before focusing on the aqueous gel. Second, we demonstrate the ability of the aqueous gel to wick oils through experiments in a Hele-Shaw cell and compare our results to the Washburn equation for porous media. The Washburn equation is not entirely adequate in describing our results due to the change in volume of the porous media during the wicking process. Finally, we investigate mechanisms proposed to govern the formation of low-molecular-weight gels in the literature through rheological shear measurements during gel formation. Our experiments suggest that the proposed mechanisms are applicable to our aqueous gels, growing as anisotropic crystal networks with fractal dimensions between one and two dimensions from temporally sporadic nucleation sites.

Item Type:Article
HAL Id:hal-03132730
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:French research institutions > Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier - UT3 (FRANCE)
Other partners > University of British Columbia (CANADA)
Laboratory name:
Deposited On:05 Feb 2021 12:00

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