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Removal of phosphate by using copper-loaded poly(N-vinylimidazole) hydrogels as polymeric ligand exchanger



Polymeric ligand exchangers (PLE) are generally composed of a crosslinked hosting resin that can firmly hold a transition metal ion which can act as terminal functional groups. In this study, poly(N-vinylimidazole) (PVIm) hydrogels were synthesized by free radical polymerization/crosslinking of N-vinylimidazole in aqueous solution. Swelling behavior of PVIm hydrogels was investigated and the gel with minimum amount of crosslinking agent, hence showing maximum swelling was selected as the optimum gel system for further studies. To prepare the corresponding PLE for the removal of phosphate, PVIm hydrogels were loaded with Cu(II) ions. Copper loading capacity of PLE was determined to be 5 mmol of Cu(II)/g of dry gel. For removal of phosphate, adsorption experiments were performed in batch mode at different pH (3–9) and phosphate concentrations. It was found that phosphate adsorption capacity did not change significantly within this pH range. The effect of initial concentration of phosphate on the adsorption behavior of PLE was determined for 10 different phosphate concentrations (0.1–1000 mg/L) at pH 7. NaCl solution was used for regeneration of phosphate adsorbed Cu(II) loaded PVIm hydrogels with 100% regeneration efficiency. The new PLE showed high affinity for phosphate; the highest uptake was found to be 218 mg/g dry PLE from 1000 mg/L phosphate solution. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2011