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Synthesis and characterization of a polymer/multiwalled carbon nanotube composite and its application in the hydration of ethylene oxide



Multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) were incorporated into the crosslinking network of a styrene–divinylbenzene copolymer (PS–DVB) via suspension polymerization. The prepared crosslinking PS–DVB with MWNTs was first treated with chloromethyl methyl ether to introduce chloromethyl groups through Friedel–Craft reaction; then, the chloromethylation product was reacted with trimethyl amine to obtain the target polymer/carbon nanotube composite: PS–DVB/MWNT ion-exchange resin. The obtained composite was characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, Raman spectroscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The results show the successful incorporation of MWNTs into the polymer network. The physical and chemical properties of the PS–DVB/MWNT ion-exchange resin were nearly the same as those of the controlled sample. With its excellent antiswelling properties, the catalytic behavior of the polymer composite was examined in the hydration of ethylene oxide. Also, it demonstrated excellent stability as a catalyst without a decline in conversion and selectivity in a long-time run. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2010