Oil Water Separation: Inauguration of Cellulose and Chemically Modified Cellulose-rGO via Graphene Oxide Functionalization

  • Hatika Kaco, Abdul Aziz Md Yunus, Ahmad Amer Mukmin Mohd Radzi, Muhammad Haziq Bahtiar, Muhammad Haikal Honan, Mohd Shaiful Sajab, Sarani Zakaria


The expenditure on water remediation is the constant main rationalization. However, the adoption of our lignocellulosic biomass at the highest level might provide a solution. Therefore, our main objective is to enhance the surface area of cellulose on the surface of empty oil palm fruit bunch fibers via a functionalization of graphene oxide (GO) and lamination of GO on the surface of EFB cellulose (EFBC) occurred by the intermolecular hydrogen bonding through a thermal treatment of reduced-graphene oxide. The hydrophobicity of the functionalized cellulose (EFBC_rGO) was improvised by a single layer grafting of graphene in the selectively separate oil for water remediation. The optimization of EFBC_rGO on the selectivity of oil uptake was carried out in different temperature and oil, kinetic sorption and chemical analysis. The modified EFBC_rGO showed distinct morphological and chemical characteristic changes as the surface of cellulose had been coated with rGO. This was supported by the FTIR analysis that showed a diminishing peak of hydroxyl group region of EFBC and that chemical modification has improved the hydrophobicity of the EFBC_rGO. In the contact angle measurement, the EFBC_rGO showed better hydrophobicity compared to EFBC. In the oil uptake study, increasing the temperature up to 80oC has increased the oil uptake up to 94% by EFBC_rGO at 9:1 water-oil ratio. Meanwhile, the kinetic sorption revealed that 60 min treatment was the maximum time for oil sorption.