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Single‑, Double‑, and Triple-Network Macroporous Rubbers as a Passive Sampler

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journal contribution
posted on 22.07.2019, 19:05 by Berkant Yetiskin, Oktay E. Tureyen, Atilla Yilmaz, Sevil D. Yakan, Oya S. Okay, Oguz Okay
Over the past decades, large quantities of organic compounds including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) entering aquatic systems create acutely toxic effects and chronic abnormalities in aquatic organisms. Passive sampling is an effective technique to detect organic compounds at very low concentrations in water by accumulating them in their structure to a measurable concentration level. Polymeric passive samplers reported so far have a nonporous structure, and hence, the absorption of organic compounds into the passive sampler is governed by their slow diffusion process. We present here novel macroporous rubber sorbents as monophasic passive samplers with tunable pore morphologies, extraordinary mechanical properties, and high sorption rates and capacities for PAHs. Sorbent materials based on single-network (SN), double-network (DN), and triple-network (TN) butyl rubber were prepared via the cryogelation technique from butyl rubber solutions in benzene as the solvent at −18 °C using a sulfur monochloride cross-linker. To obtain macroporous rubbers with DN and TN structures, the reactions were conducted in the macropores of SN and DN rubber networks, respectively. The porous morphology and the mechanical behavior of the rubbers can be tuned by adjusting the weight ratio wR of the network components. The rubbers exhibit two generations of pores, namely, large and small pores with diameters 40–240 and 14–54 μm, respectively. The sizes of both large and small pores decrease and approach each other as wR is increased. Four PAH compounds, namely, naphthalene, phenanthrene, fluoranthene, and pyrene with two to four aromatic rings, dissolved in filtered seawater with a salinity of 22 ppt were used to highlight the correlations between the properties of macroporous rubbers and their absorption rates and capacities. Nonporous silicone rubber reported before as a passive sampler has the lowest absorption rate and capacity as compared to the macroporous rubbers. The SN rubber absorbs most rapidly PAHs because of its largest porosity, whereas the TN rubber with the smallest pores exhibits the highest sorption capacity.

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