Superhydrophobic methylated silica with a core–shell structure was successfully fabricated by a sol-gel process. First, a pristine silica gel with an average particle size of ca. 110 nm was prepared, using tetraethylorthosilicate (TEOS) as a precursor, ethanol as a solvent, and NH4
OH as a catalyst. Then, the superhydrophobic methylated silica sol was prepared by introducing methyltrimethoxysilane (MTMS), to graft the surface of the pristine silica gel with methyl groups. The structure and morphology of the methylated silica sol were characterized by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM), and transmission electron microscope (TEM). The characterization results showed that methyl groups were successfully grafted onto the surface of the pristine silica, and the diameter of the methylated silica was increased by 5–10 nm. Various superhydrophobic surfaces on glass, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) fabric, cotton, open-cell polyurethane (PU) foam, and polypropylene (PP) filter cloth were successfully constructed by coating the above substrates with the methylated silica sol and reached with a maximum static water contact angle and slide angle of 161° and 3°, respectively. In particular, the superhydrophobic PP filter cloth exhibited promising application in oil–water separation. The separation efficiency of different oil–water mixtures was higher than 96% and could be repeated at least 15 times.
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