• hydrogels;
  • gels;
  • hydrophilic polymers;
  • adsorption


Water-insoluble polyaspartyl polymers were synthesized by using water as medium instead of organic medium. Taking Ca2+ as a reference, the binding of several heavy-metal ions, including Pb2+, Cd2+, Hg2+, Cr3+, Cu2+, and Mn2+, by polyaspartyl polymers was studied. The experimental results revealed that polyaspartate is an excellent binding agent for the investigated heavy-metal ions. These cation ions were bound to polyaspartate polymer by the same mechanism as Pb2+, which can be explained by ion exchange model. Since polyaspartate has a protein-resembling structure that is sensitive to trace heavy metal, it was used to remove some trace heavy-metal elements in Chinese herbal medicines. It was found that polyaspartate material was an effective agent for the removal of Pb2+, Cd2+, and Hg2+ ions from glycyrrhizin, angelica, and gynostemma pentaphyllum. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 2007