A camphene-camphor-polymer composite material for the production of superhydrophobic absorbent microporous foams

Richard J. G. Löffler, Martin M. Hanczyc & Jerzy Gorecki 

Scientific Reports (2022) 12:1


In a recently published paper (doi.org/10.3390/molecules26113116) on self-propelled motion of objects on the water surface, we described a novel surface-active plastic material obtained by dissolution of camphor and polypropylene in camphene at 250 degrees C. The material has wax-like mechanical properties, can be easily formed to any moldable shape, and allows for longer and more stable self-propelled motion if compared with pure camphor or pure camphene or of a camphene-camphor wax. Here we use scanning electron microscopy to visualize and characterize the microporous structure of the solid polypropylene foam formed in the plastic for different polypropylene contents. The topology of foams remaining in the material after camphor and camphene molecules have been removed through evaporation or dissolution is similar to polypropylene foams obtained using thermally-induced phase separation. We show that the foams have a superhydrophobic surface but strongly absorb non-polar liquids, and suggest an array of potential scientific and industrial applications.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 711859.