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Novel Covalently Cross-Linked Attapulgite/Poly(acrylic acid-co-acrylamide) Hybrid Hydrogels by Inverse Suspension Polymerization: Synthesis Optimization and Evaluation as Adsorbents for Toxic Heavy Metals

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journal contribution
posted on 19.03.2014, 00:00 by Peng Liu, Liping Jiang, Longxiang Zhu, Aiqin Wang
Novel covalently cross-linked microbeads of attapulgite/poly­(acrylic acid-co-acrylamide) [ATP/P­(AA–AM)] hybrid hydrogels with excellent mechanical stability were synthesized by the inverse suspension copolymerization of acrylic acid (AA) and acrylamide (AM) with multifunctional attapulgite nanorods (MF-ATP) as the sole cross-linker. The synthesis conditions, such as feeding method, neutralization degree of AA, and feed ratio of the comonomers to MF-ATP, were optimized scientifically. The TGA results showed that 96% of the comonomers (AA and AM) were grafted onto the MF-ATP nanorods to form a three-dimensional network skeleton of the hybrid hydrogels, for a feed ratio of MF-ATP nanorods to comonomers of 1:5. The ATP/P­(AA–AM) hybrid hydrogels exhibited selective adsorption toward toxic heavy-metal ions, especially Pb2+ and Cu2+ ions. In addition, the adsorbed ions could be easily desorbed, indicating the reusability of the ATP/P­(AA–AM) hybrid hydrogels. Their use as an adsorbent for toxic heavy-metal ions can therefore be expected to be economically and technically feasible.