Cellulose-Based Material for Remediation of Oil Spills
Oil and organic chemical pollution of aquatic and terrestrial environment is a major concern to the Gulf Countries. The goal of this thesis is to use natural fibers for the remediation of oil-contaminated water. Three natural fibers (cotton, loofa and palm leaves) were chemically modified by silylation and esterification reactions to make the fibers lipophilic. Cotton was the most promising and both chemical processes improved its oil-absorption capacity significantly. Successful modification of the cotton with chlorosilanes (methyl trichloro silane, butyl trichlorosilane, dichlorodimethyl silane, trichloro-3,3,3-trifluoropropyl silane) and the alkanoyl chlorides (acetyl, propionyl, butyryl, valeroyl, hexanoyl, and perfluorobutyl chlorides) were supported by IR, TGA and SEM characterization of the fibers. Adsorption experiments of crude oil showed that the length of the alkyl side chain grafted onto the cotton is proportional to the adsorption capacity. In order to optimize the adsorption conditions, the effect of different factors were investigated including temperature and water salinity. The adsorption capacity obtained for cotton treated by esterification ranged from 8.95 g oil/g (acetyl) to 13.25 g oil/g (hexyl). For cotton fibers treated with chlorosilanes, the adsorption capacity ranged from 15.49 g oil/g cotton (trifluoropropyl silane) to 16.74 g oil/g cotton (dimethyl silane).