Graft copolymerization of acrylonitrile onto bagasse and wood pulps

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Abstract

Graft copolymerization of acrylonitrile onto bagasse and wood pulps has been studied using ceric ammonium nitrate as initiator. The effect of order of reactants addition on grafting was examined: three methods were studied. Addition of the pulp to a mixture of initiator and monomer (method A) resulted in more efficient grafting than the other two methods. The reaction produced more grafting at 50°C than at 30°C or at 40°C. The results showed that the monomer and initiator concentrations are the major factors influencing the grafting rate of acrylonitrile. Increasing the acrylonitrile or initiator concentration was accompanied by a substantial increase in graft yields. Increasing the initiator concentration is more effective on polymerization rate than the increase in monomer concentration. The extent of grafting of this monomer can best be controlled by reaction time. Water swelling of pulps significantly affected the grafting rate of acrylonitrile as well as the ceric consumption during grafting. The reactivity of bagasse pulp towards grafting of acrylonitrile is higher than that of wood pulp due to a more open structure of cellulose in bagasse pulp as well as the presence of some lignin which accelerates grafting. Ceric consumption during grafting depends on the nature of the pulp as well as the monomer and initiator concentrations, time, temperature, and the method of grafting. More Ce(IV) is consumed during grafting than during oxidation of the pulps under identical reaction conditions, due to homopolymer formation which accompanied grafting. The ceric consumption by bagasse during grafting or oxidation is somewhat greater than that consumed by wood pulp under similar reaction conditions.

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