Research into oil water separation published in New Journal of Chemistry

Rachel McClaren, RSC Publication

Rachel McLaren has had her doctoral research published in the New Journal of Chemistry (RSC Publishing)

Oleophobic composite films based on multi-layer graphitic scaffolding co-authored with Dr Gareth Owen (USW), Dr David Morgan (Cardiff University), Dr Nildo Costa (USW), Dr Christian Laycock (USW) and Dr Michael Warwick (Swansea University) presents a new oleophobic composite material synthesised by utilising plasma-exfoliated multi-layered graphitic (MLG) material as scaffolding.  

The composite consisted of a polyelectrolyte/fluorosurfactant complex derived from polydiallyldimethylammonium chloride (PDDA) and sodium perfluorooctanoate (PFO) and was used to prepare free-standing MLG composite films, which functioned as membranes.

Dr Rachel_McLaren

The research is based on Rachel’s ESF-funded doctoral work to synthesise a novel composite which is both oil-repellent (oleophobic) and allows water through (hydrophillic).

“There is an increasing demand for materials which provide oil repelling/ water attracting behaviour,” said Rachel.

“My doctoral research focuses on the functionalisation and modification of graphene-based materials and their applications. These materials show real potential for a whole plethora of applications, such as in an oil spill clean-up, which haven’t been fully explored.”

The researchers are now in the process of submitting a follow-up paper which utilises the composite as a coating for membranes for application within oil-spill and aircraft.