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Selective, spontaneous one-way oil-transport fabrics and their novel use for gauging liquid surface tension

journal contribution
posted on 2015-10-21, 00:00 authored by Hong WangHong Wang, Hua ZhouHua Zhou, W Yang, Yan Zhao, Jian Fang, Tong Lin
Thin porous materials that can spontaneously transport oil fluids just in a single direction have great potential for making energy-saving functional membranes. However, there is little data for the preparation and functionalities of this smart material. Here, we report a novel method to prepare one-way oil-transport fabrics and their application in detecting liquid surface tension. This functional fabric was prepared by a two-step coating process to apply flowerlike ZnO nanorods, fluorinated decyl polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes, and hydrolyzed fluorinated alkylsilane on a fabric substrate. Upon one-sided UV irradiation, the coated fabric shows a one-way transport feature that allows oil fluid transport automatically from the unirradiated side to the UV-irradiated surface, but it stops fluid transport in the opposite direction. The fabric still maintains high superhydrophobicity after UV treatment. The one-way fluid transport takes place only for the oil fluids with a specific surface tension value, and the fluid selectivity is dependent on the UV treatment time. Changing the UV irradiation time from 6 to 30 h broadened the one-way transport for fluids with surface tension from around 22.3 mN/m to a range of 22.3-56.7 mN/m. We further proved that this selective one-way oil transport can be used to estimate the surface tension of a liquid simply by observing its transport feature on a series of fabrics with different one-way oil-transport selectivities. To our knowledge, this is the first example to use one-way fluid-transport materials for testing the liquid surface tension. It may open up further theoretical studies and the development of novel fluid sensors.



ACS applied materials and interfaces






22874 - 22880


American Chemical Society


Washington, D.C.





Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2015, American Chemical Society