Crosslinked 1-octene-isodecyl acrylate copolymers were synthesized and evaluated for oil-absorbency applications. The copolymer was crosslinked at different concentrations of ethylene glycol diacrylate (EGDA) and EG dimethacrylate (EGDMA) crosslinkers via catalytic initiation or by electron-beam irradiation at a dose rate 80 kGy. The concentration of both crosslinkers was varied from 0.5 to 2%. The effects of the crosslinking conditions such as crosslinker concentration, method of polymerization and monomer concentrations on the conversion and gel fraction were examined through oil- absorption tests using petroleum crude oil. It was found that the oil absorbency was influenced mainly by the degree of crosslinking and the hydrophobicity of the copolymer units. The final equilibrium oil content, volume fraction of the polymer, and swelling capacity were determined at 298 K. The effective crosslinking density, average molecular weight between the crosslinks, and polymer–toluene interaction parameter were determined from stress–strain measurements. The crosslinking efficiencies of EGDA and EGDMA toward copolymers were determined. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 97: 80–91, 2005
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