Title

The synthesis and characterization of environmentally-responsive water-swellable and water-soluble polymers for wastewater remediation

Date of Award

1999

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Polymers and High Performance Materials

First Advisor

Charles L. McCormick

Advisor Department

Polymers and High Performance Materials

Abstract

The primary research goal is the development of new polymeric materials that demonstrate the environmentally-responsive sequestration of common water foulants, including surfactants and oils. Water-swellable and water-soluble polymers have been synthesized, structurally characterized, and their physical properties have been determined. In addition, the ability of the materials to sequester model water foulants has been evaluated. Anionic crosslinked polymer networks of 2-acrylamido-2-methyl-1-propanesulfonic acid, acrylamide, and methylene bisacrylamide have been synthesized and characterized by determining the equilibrium water contents as a function of ionic content of the polymer network. The molar ratio of bound surfactant to ionic group was determined to be less than one for all hydrogels studied, indicating an ion-exchange binding mechanism with minimal hydrophobic interactions between bound and unbound surfactant molecules is responsible for surfactant binding. Cationic crosslinked cyclopolymer networks of N,N -diallyl- N -methyl amine (DAMA) and N,N,N,N -tetraallyl ammonium chloride (TAAC) have been synthesized and characterized by determining the equilibrium water content as a function of pH. A maximum in the equilibrium water content is observed for pH-6 when the polymer is fully ionized. The solubilization of a model water foulant, p -cresol, by the polymeric surfactant, Pluronic F127, has been studied via equilibrium dialysis, dynamic light scattering and ultrafiltration experiments. It has been shown that at 25°C p -cresol is readily solubilized by F127 since the polymeric surfactant exists in a multimer conformation. Ultrafiltration experiments have demonstrated that the polymer-foulant binding interactions are largely unaffected by shear in a hollow fiber membrane. Copolymers of the zwitterionic monomer, 3-(N,N -diallyl- N -methyl ammonio) propane sulfonate (DAMAPS) and N,N -diallyl- N,N -dimethylammonium chloride (DADMAC) (the DADS series) or the pH-responsive hydrophobic monomer, N,N -diallyl-N -methyl amine (DAMA) (the DAMS series) have been prepared in a 0.5 M NaCl aqueous solution using 2-hydroxy-1-[4-(hydroxy-ethoxy)phenyl]-2-methyl-1-propanone (Irgacure 2959) as the free-radical photoinitiator. 13 C NMR data indicate that the resulting polymers maintain the five-membered ring structure in the cis conformation common to diallylammonium salts. Equilibrium dialysis experiments demonstrate that pH-responsive hydrophobic microdomain formation may be utilized to control the solubilization of the organic solute, p -cresol. Ultrafiltration experiments have demonstrated that the polymer-foulant binding interactions are largely unaffected by shear in a hollow fiber membrane. Macromolecular aggregates of the poly( N,N -diallyl-N -methyl amine)/p -cresol complexes lead to fouling of the ultrafiltration membrane. However, incorporation of the sulfobetaine moiety hinders the formation of the macroscopic structures and higher permeate flux rates are achieved. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)