Influences of cation valence on water absorbency of crosslinked carboxymethyl cellulose.

Affiliation

Zhang Z(1), Qiao X(2).
Author information:
(1)State Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering, State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Environmental Risk Assessment and Control on Chemical Process, School of Resource and Environmental Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology, 130 Meilong Road, Shanghai 200237, China.
(2)State Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering, State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Environmental Risk Assessment and Control on Chemical Process, School of Resource and Environmental Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology, 130 Meilong Road, Shanghai 200237, China. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Anti-drought is a global challenge. The addition of superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) in soil can lower down the water percolation and evaporation. However, the salt-tolerance and repeating water absorbency (RWA) of prepared SAPs have not satisfied the requirements for implementation. This research investigated the influence of cation valence (Na+, Ca2+ and Al3+) on the structural variations of a crosslinked carboxymethyl cellulose (CCMC) using carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) cross linked by epichlorohydrin (ECH). The results showed that higher addition of NaOH resulted in higher water absorbency (WA) due to the existence of more carboxyl group. The prepared CCMC sample with 5% CMC and 3% NaOH (CCMC53) was a qualified SAP with WA of 969.0 g/g in deionized water. The salt resistance and the hydrophilicity of sample CCMC53 decreased with the increase of cation valence in the solution. The introduction of Na+ resulted in the replacement of H+ from carboxyl group in sample CCMC53-Na. The coordination of carboxyl group and Ca2+ was bidentate chelating and tridentate bridging for carboxyl group and Al3+. The introduction polyvalent cations benefited the stabilization of carboxyl group, however, retarded the swelling ability of sample CCMC53 and hence resulted in lower WACS. The RWA of sample CCMC53 in deionized water and salt solution dropped the most in the first absorption cycle and then reached constant after a few more cycles. It was necessary to control the first swelling degree of SAP in order to keep the RWA at a higher level.