Low sulfur fuel oils (LSFOs) with less than 0.5% sulfur content have been mandated for marine vessels by the International Maritime Organization since 2020. However, owing to the low dispersibility and high viscosity of LSFOs, their oceanic spills are difficult to clean using conventional response systems. In this study, we propose a superhydrophilic and hygroscopic ramie to clean spilled LSFO. To this end, a raw ramie fiber, which is intrinsically hydrophobic, was treated using a mild alkali to remove its waxy, rough, and gummy veneer and reveal a smooth surface. This substantially improved its hygroscopic nature, superhydrophilicity, and water-retention, while preserving its mechanical durability in dry and wet environments. The hygroscopic ramie exhibited underwater superoleophobicity and self-cleaning abilities against highly adhesive LSFOs. Two proofs-of-concept are demonstrated in this study—an oil-proof glove for maximizing oil repellency and a direct oil-scooping device for simple and continuous recovery of spilled oil with high efficiency.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Korea Coast Guard ( KIMST-20210584 ). This study was partly supported by the Korea Ministry of Environment (MOE) (no. 2021002800005 ). The authors also acknowledge the kind support from a KIST internal project and a grant ( NRF-2016M3C1B5906481 ) from the National Research Foundation (NRF) , Republic of Korea.
© 2022 The Authors
- Hygroscopic ramie
- Oil repellency
- Oil-proof ramie gloves
- Ramie scooper
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis