Rapid One-Step Fabrication of Graphene Oxide-Decorated Polycaprolactone Three-Dimensional Templates for Water Treatment

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Coating of flexible substrates is crucial to prepare versatile, multifunctional materials. However, exploration of effective fabrication approaches is still a challenging issue, because the pathways generally proposed require time-consuming, multistep protocols. Here, we developed a one-pot process for decorating either pearl necklace-like or fibrous fluffy-like structures of polycaprolactone (PCL) with graphene oxide (GO) skin. PCL solutions were dry jet-wet electrosprayed or electrospun into a stirred liquid collector constituted by ethanol-containing GO nanoparticles. The stirred liquid collector enables the formation of 3D-structures, whose microarchitecture can be designed by controlling the rheological behavior of PCL solutions. Two molecular weights of PCL were used (45 or 80 kDa) with ensuing different viscosity, which determines the prevalent formation of beads or fibers. The presence of GO in the coagulation bath allows the polymeric structures to be rapidly wrapped by those nanoparticles. Graphenic coating endows these materials with the intriguing peculiarities of GO: PCL/GO nanocomposites displayed increments of elastic modulus ranging from 1250% (beads) to 3300% (fibers) with respect to the neat matrices and a change from hydrophobic to amphiphilic character. A potential application of such devices in water treatment was assessed in phenol removal. The results pointed out that PCL/GO scaffolds retain the same sorption capacity of GO nanoparticles, while bringing several advantages in terms of handling, robustness, and recyclability. The ease of control of the process, as well as its fastness and cost-effectiveness could open a wide range of scenarios, including sensors, energy, catalysis, biomedicine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4993-5005
Number of pages13
JournalACS Applied Polymer Materials
Publication statusPublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Organic Chemistry

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