Preparation of Copolymers of Acrylic Acid and Acrylamide for Copper (II) Capture from Aqueous Solutions
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Cross-linked copolymers of acrylic acid (sodium acrylate) and acrylamide were synthesized by free radical polymerization. The copolymer hydrogel was studied for capture of copper ion from aqueous solution. Effects of macromolecular structure (i.e., content of the acrylic acid, the quantity of the carboxyl groups neutralized with sodium hydroxide, and the degree of cross-linking) on water-sorption and copper ion uptake were investigated. With an increase in the content of acrylic acid (sodium acrylate), the copper sulfate uptake increases, and water sorption decreases quickly and then slowly increases when the acrylic acid content is high enough. The copper ion uptake is accompanied with a release of sodium ions from the copolymer. Increasing the percentage of the carboxyl groups neutralized by sodium hydroxide will increase the uptake of copper sulfate and water. With an increase in the content of the cross-linking agent, both copper sulfate uptake and water sorption decrease. Even though valence of copper ion is two times that of sodium ion, the copper ions sorption and sodium ions release do not follow a simple ion exchange relation because of insertion of acrylamide co-monomers in macromolecular chain. When copper ions interact with carboxyl groups in the copolymer to form chelating complexes, the water sorption decreases substantially. An analysis of adsorption isotherm indicates that at relatively low concentrations of CuSO4 in water, the copper ion sorption into the copolymer follows the Langmuir model. The wide angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD) data reveal that the copper sulfate sorbed in the hydrogel is not in crystalline state.