Interfacial materials with special wettability have become a burgeoning research area in materials science in the past decade. The unique surface properties of materials and interfaces generated by biomimetic approaches can be leveraged to develop effective solutions to challenging environmental problems. This critical review presents the concept, mechanisms, and fabrication techniques of interfacial materials with special wettability, and assesses the environmental applications of these materials for oil-water separation, membrane-based water purification and desalination, biofouling control, high performance vapor condensation, and atmospheric water collection. We also highlight the most promising properties of interfacial materials with special wettability that enable innovative environmental applications and discuss the practical challenges for large-scale implementation of these novel materials.

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