Superoleophilic oil-adsorbing membranes based on porous and nonporous fluorinated polyimides for the rapid remediation of oil spills

Fuat Topuz*, Mahmoud A. Abdulhamid, Gyorgy Szekely

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Oil spills present significant environmental hazards that threaten the marine ecosystem and human life. To rapidly clean up oil spills and prevent ecological disasters, various oil sorbents have been developed. Here, highly effective hydrophobic nanofibrous sorbents were developed through the electrospinning of four different 4,4′-(hexafluoroisopropylidene)diphthalic anhydride (6FDA)-based polyimides with Brunauer–Emmett–Teller surface areas of 46 and 530 m2 g−1. Uniform nanofibers with wrinkled surfaces and mean diameters of 250–860 nm were produced. Cross-sectional images revealed the presence of pores within the fibers, attributable to the unsteady evaporation of solvent molecules from the jet. Water contact-angle (WCA) measurements demonstrated the hydrophobic nature of the nanofibers, whose WCAs were in the range of 130°–147°. Oil-sorption experiments revealed the high performance of the nanofibrous sorbents. The sorbent produced from 6FDA–3,5-diaminobenzoic acid exhibited the highest adsorption capacities for crude oil (61 g g−1) and diesel (109 g g−1). In contrast, the highest gasoline-adsorption capacity was observed for the sorbent produced from 6FDA–3,5-diamino-2,4,6-trimethylbenzene benzoic acid (6FDA–TrMCA) (41 g g−1). Using polymer blends, the sorption capacities of the resulting sorbents were enhanced up to 83 and 42 g g−1 for crude oil and gasoline, respectively; however, the diesel-sorption capacity decreased to 71 g g−1. The nanofibrous sorbents could be recovered mechanically through squeezing and reused multiple times, while maintaining higher than 80% of their initial sorption capacities. These hydrophobic polyimide nanofibrous sorbents with high oil-adsorption rates and sorption capacities exhibit significant potential for application in oil-spill remediation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number137821
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.


The research reported in this publication was supported by funding from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). The postdoctoral fellowship from the Advanced Membranes and Porous Materials Center at KAUST is gratefully acknowledged (FT and MAA). The support of Cong Yang (KAUST) for the WCA measurement is appreciated.

FundersFunder number
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology


    • Electrospinning
    • Membrane
    • Microporous polyimide
    • Oil spill
    • Oil/water separation
    • Water treatment


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