To meet the increasing demands for effective cleanup technologies to deal with the oil spill accidents that significantly affect the ecological and environmental systems, promising composite materials based on carbon nanotubes containing silicone foams were investigated. Pump oil, kerosene, and virgin naphtha had been used to assess, during sorption tests, foams behavior. Test results highlighted the advantage of the hydrophobic and oleophilic behavior of carbon nanotubes, and their high mechanical strength for oil spill recovery application was studied. In order to better relate the property-structure relationship for this class of materials, the role and influence of functionalized nanotubes on thermo-physical and morphological characteristics of the foams had been evaluated. The results showed how the pristine nanotubes fillers, despite functionalized ones, led to optimal composite foam performances with high hydrophobic (62 mg g −1) and oleophilic (6830 mg g −1 in kerosene oil) characteristics. The evidenced high oil selectivity was a relevant key point in order to consider the suitable material for oil spill recovery applications. Eventually, the proposed configuration exhibited the best thermo-physical performances and high reusability, leading to the optimal cost-benefits option.
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