Highly absorbent polymers capable of trapping large volumes of organic liquids are attractive materials for cleaning up toxic chemical spills. Here we report development of a homopolymer network using N-butyl-N-phenylacrylamide with poly(ethylene glycol) dimethacrylate as the cross-linker, that absorbs a variety of organic liquids by swelling. The nonelectrolytic basis of this polymer allows it to be used in areas where organic liquids and water coexist in the form of an emulsion. We demonstrate that this new polymer swells up to 20× in nonpolar organic liquids and up to 33× in more polar organic liquids but has negligible swelling in water. Consequently, this novel selectively superabsorbent polymer has potential use in a broad range of applications to capture and remove hazardous materials.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering