PLA coating improves the performance of renewable adsorbent pads based on cellulosic aerogels from aquatic waste biomass

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cej.2020.124607Get rights and content

Highlights

Sustainable, lightweight, hydrophobic, cellulose-based adsorbent pads were produced.

P. oceanica biomass was valorized for the development of (nano)cellulosic aerogels.

The least purified nanocellulosic fractions yielded the most porous aerogels.

PLA dipping highly improved the aerogels’ hydrophobicity and mechanical performance.

Microstructure played a crucial role in both PLA incorporation and aerogels’ performance.

Abstract

Lightweight, hydrophobic, adsorbent pads based on aerogels from different cellulosic and nanocellulosic fractions extracted from Posidonia oceanica waste biomass were developed by a simple freeze-drying and PLA dipping method. The pure (nano)cellulosic aerogels presented highly porous structures, capable of adsorbing large amounts of oil (up to ~34 g oil/g aerogel); however, they lost their integrity when soaked in water. The incorporation of PLA hydrophobized the aerogels and improved significantly their mechanical performance (up to 10-fold increase in the compression stress). The most porous aerogel structures, obtained with the lowest (nano)cellulosic concentrations and with the less purified fractions, incorporated greater amounts of PLA upon dipping, which was mostly distributed filling in the pores. All the PLA-coated (nano)cellulosic aerogels presented a hydrophobic behaviour, with contact angles of 95–130° and selectively adsorbing greater amounts of oil (5.9–9.2 g oil/g aerogel) than water (2.8–6.7 g H2O/g aerogel). These materials present a great potential as adsorbent pads for oil spill cleaning and food packaging applications.

Abbreviations

PLA
poly(lactic acid)
F2A
cellulosic fraction obtained by omitting both Soxhlet and KOH treatments
F2
cellulosic fraction obtained by omitting the KOH treatment
F3A
cellulosic fraction obtained by omitting the Soxhlet treatment
F3
pure cellulose fraction
NANO F2A
nanocrystals obtained from F2A
NANO F2
nanocrystals obtained from F2
NANO F3A
nanocrystals obtained from F3A
NANO F3
nanocrystals obtained from F3

Keywords

Porous materials
Posidonia
Seaweed
Biopolymers
Oil sorption
Microstructure

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