Robust Microcapsules with Durable Superhydrophobicity and Superoleophilicity for Efficient Oil-Water Separation

Wenjun LUO, Dawei SUN, Shusheng CHEN, Logesh SHANMUGAM, Yong XIANG*, Jinglei YANG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


The poor ultraviolet (UV) resistance and insufficient solvent compatibility are challenges for long-term storage and service of oil-water separation materials in practical applications. Herein, a superhydrophobic/superoleophilic surface with nano- to microscale hierarchical structures was formed spontaneously on robust microcapsules (MCs) via in situ polymerization and a sol-gel surface treatment. The resultant MCs possessed superior UV-resistant and solvent-proof superhydrophobicity. The water contact angles (WCAs) of the MC coating remained above 160° and the sliding angles (SAs) were below 3° after 9 days of UV aging test or 20 days of nonpolar and polar aprotic solvent immersion tests. More interestingly, these MCs can be used to separate the oil phase from its aqueous emulsion effectively, achieving a high and reusable separation efficiency with over 90% oil purity after 10 cycles of filtrations even after 13 days of UV aging. Therefore, these novel MCs will exhibit effective oil-water separation performance, superior chemical stability, outstanding reusability, and long-term storage stability for promising practical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57547-57559
Number of pages13
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number51
Early online date10 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

The authors are grateful for the support from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Grant #: R9365), the Guangzhou Municipal Science and Technology Bureau (Project #: 201907010024), the Technological Bureau of Guangzhou Huangpu District (Project #: 2018GH04), and the Zhongshan-HKUST Program (Project ID: RG066). The authors are also grateful to Ivan M L Sham and Sherry S P Bao from the Construction and Building department of Nano and Advanced Materials Institute Limited (NAMI) for their generous help.


  • durability
  • long-term storage stability
  • microcapsules
  • oil-water separation
  • sol-gel surface treatment
  • superhydrophobicity
  • superoleophilicity


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