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In this study, a durable superhydrophobic/superoleophilic melamine foam was fabricated by a facile and rapid one-step thiol-ene click chemistry and Michael addition reaction, which demonstrated excellent robustness in oil/water separation. First, 1H, 1H, 2H-perfluoro-1-hexene reacted with thiol-functionalized polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane via the thiol-ene click chemistry to obtain a fluorinated thiol-functionalized polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane solution. Subsequently, the melamine foam was immersed to the solution system to form nanoaggregates on the melamine foam surface by the Michael addition reaction in the presence of ultraviolet light. The micro/nano rough structure and low surface energy of the nanoaggregates layer endowed the pristine melamine foam with superhydrophobicity; the water contact angle was greater than 150°. More importantly, the as-prepared melamine foam could withstand harsh conditions, such as a corrosive solution environment, strong ultraviolet light, mechanical compression, high and low temperature exposure, and ultrasonic washing. Driven by gravity, the as-prepared melamine foam could efficiently separate the oil/water mixtures and maintain 98% separation efficiency at high and low temperatures. In addition, it maintained the desirable absorption capability in different oil/organic solvents even after 15 absorption cycles. Accordingly, this facile, low-cost, and robust one-step method provides important support for the superhydrophobic oil/water separation field.

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Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) has been widely used to recover residual oil after the primary or secondary oil recovery processes. Compared to conventional methods, chemical EOR has demonstrated high oil recovery and low operational costs. Nanofluids have received extensive attention owing to their advantages of low cost, high oil recovery, and wide applicability. In recent years, nanofluids have been widely used in EOR processes. Moreover, several studies have focused on the role of nanofluids in the nanofluid EOR (N-EOR) process. However, the mechanisms related to N-EOR are unclear, and several of the mechanisms established are chaotic and contradictory. This review was conducted by considering heavy oil molecules/particle/surface micromechanics; nanofluid-assisted EOR methods; multiscale, multiphase pore/core displacement experiments; and multiphase flow fluid-solid coupling simulations. Nanofluids can alter the wettability of minerals (particle/surface micromechanics), oil/water interfacial tension (heavy oil molecules/water micromechanics), and structural disjoining pressure (heavy oil molecules/particle/surface micromechanics). They can also cause viscosity reduction (micromechanics of heavy oil molecules). Nanofoam technology, nanoemulsion technology, and injected fluids were used during the EOR process. The mechanism of N-EOR is based on the nanoparticle adsorption effect. Nanoparticles can be adsorbed on mineral surfaces and alter the wettability of minerals from oil-wet to water-wet conditions. Nanoparticles can also be adsorbed on the oil/water surface, which alters the oil/water interfacial tension, resulting in the formation of emulsions. Asphaltenes are also adsorbed on the surface of nanoparticles, which reduces the asphaltene content in heavy oil, resulting in a decrease in the viscosity of oil, which helps in oil recovery. In previous studies, most researchers only focused on the results, and the nanoparticle adsorption properties have been ignored. This review presents the relationship between the adsorption properties of nanoparticles and the N-EOR mechanisms. The nanofluid behaviour during a multiphase core displacement process is also discussed, and the corresponding simulation is analysed. Finally, potential mechanisms and future directions of N-EOR are proposed. The findings of this study can further the understanding of N-EOR mechanisms from the perspective of heavy oil molecules/particle/surface micromechanics, as well as clarify the role of nanofluids in multiphase core displacement experiments and simulations. This review also presents limitations and bottlenecks, guiding researchers to develop methods to synthesise novel nanoparticles and conduct further research.

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To increase antibody secretion and dose sparing, squalene-in-water aluminium hydrogel (alum)-stabilised emulsions (ASEs) have been developed, which offer increased surface areas and cellular interactions for higher antigen loading and enhanced immune responses. Nevertheless, the squalene (oil) in previous attempts suffered from limited oxidation resistance, thus, safety and stability were compromised. From a clinical translational perspective, it is imperative to screen the optimal oils for enhanced emulsion adjuvants. Here, because of the varying oleic to linoleic acid ratio, soybean oil, peanut oil, and olive oil were utilised as oil phases in the preparation of aluminium hydrogel-stabilised squalene-in-water emulsions, which were then screened for their stability and immunogenicity. Additionally, the underlying mechanisms of oil phases and emulsion stability were unravelled, which showed that a higher oleic to linoleic acid ratio increased anti-oxidative capabilities but reduced the long-term storage stability owing to the relatively low zeta potential of the prepared droplets. As a result, compared with squalene-in-water ASEs, soybean-in-water ASEs exhibited comparable immune responses and enhanced stability. By optimising the oil phase of the emulsion adjuvants, this work may offer an alternative strategy for safe, stable, and effective emulsion adjuvants.

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The micro-nano composite structure can endow separation membranes with special surface properties, but it often has the problems of inefficient preparation process and poor structural stability. In this work, a novel atomization-assisted nonsolvent induced phase separation method, which is also highly efficient and very simple, has been developed. By using this method, a bicontinuous porous microfiltration membrane with robust micro-nano composite structure was obtained via commercially available polymers of polyacrylonitrile and polyvinylpyrrolidone. The formation mechanism of the micro-nano composite structure was proposed. The microphase separation of polyacrylonitrile and polyvinylpyrrolidone components during the atomization pretreatment process and the hydrogen bonding between polyacrylonitrile and polyvinylpyrrolidone molecules should have resulted in the nano-protrusions on the membrane skeleton. The membrane exhibits superhydrophilicity in air and superoleophobicity underwater. The membrane can separate both surfactant-free and surfactant-stabilized oil-in-water emulsions with high separation efficiency and permeation flux. With excellent antifouling property and robust microstructure, the membrane can easily be recycled for long-term separation. Furthermore, the scale-up verification from laboratory preparation to continuous production has been achieved. The simple, efficient, cost-effective preparation method and excellent membrane properties indicate the great potential of the developed membranes in practical applications.

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