Recyclable Hybrid Inorganic/Organic Magnetically Active Networks for the Sequestration of Crude Oil from Aqueous Environments
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2015 American Chemical Society. Hybrid inorganic/organic composite materials have been synthesized from the coupling of amine-functionalized iron oxide nanoparticles (amine-IONs) and pre-established shell cross-linked knedel-like (SCK) polymer nanoconstructs. The magnetically active hybrid networks (MHNs), composed of several interconnected SCKs bound to magnetically active amine-IONs, were designed for their application in the sequestration of hydrophobic contaminants from polluted environments. Initial assessment of the ability of the MHNs to capture complex pollutants, such as crude oil (oil), determined a loading capacity in the range of 3.5-4.5 mg of oil sequestered/mg of MHNs. The magnetic component of the hybrid nanoconstructs was exploited as a facile method of manipulation of the loaded networks, which allowed for the recovery of ca. 93% of the MHNs deployed in water, as well as ca. 90% recovery of the oil originally sequestered. Reutilization of these materials exhibited comparable efficiency after three cycles of remediation, which involved deployment, magnetic recovery, and organic washes to remove the cargo. The multiple characteristics of these materials could be exploited in the cleaning of water contaminated during the process of drilling, extraction, and transport of crude oil, among other applications.