Method for Oil–Water Separation Using Nanoparticles and Binder

A coating which repels oil and attracts water, creating a highly efficient separation technique.

The Need

Across numerous industries, such as oil and natural gas processing, liquid-repellent surfaces are often essential to product development, or even operational sustainability via equipment maintenance. Current liquid repellents are optimized to protect against all liquids, including oil and water (superhydrophobic). A material with a coating that repels oil and also attracts water would prove advantageous for equipment or materials that must interact with water and/or oil on a consistant basis, reducing the wear and tear on such surfaces.

The Technology

The proposed coating is made of nanoparticles dispersed in a binder that results in a durable, superhydrophilic and superoleophobic surface. The coating shows substrate independency and has been successfully applied to glass, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polycarbonate (PC), and polypropylene (PP) and stainless steel mesh. The nanoparticles used are hydrophobic and about 10 nm in length; the binder is methyl phenyl silicone resin. The binder holds the nanoparticles and adheres to the substrate. In order to separate oil and water the coating is applied to a stainless steel mesh which allows water to flow through while repelling oil.

Commercial Applications

  • Biofuel production
  • Oil and natural gas production
  • Residential and commercial building construction
  • Commercial waste filters


  • The coating coating has faster and more efficent hydrophilic characteristics than other hydrophilic coatings.
  • This mesh could be used in highly polluted streams in order to remove oil based contaimnents.
  • A personal or industrial water filtration system could be augmented by several layers of mesh covered in this coating.

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