A new konjac glucomannan (KGM)-based superabsorbent polymer, KGM-g-poly(acrylic acid-co-acrylamide), was prepared by the free radical grafting solution polymerization of acrylic acid (AA) and acrylamide (AM) monomers onto KGM in the presence of N,N′-methylenebisacrylamide as a crosslinker with potassium persulfate as an initiator. The effects of reaction parameters, including the amount of crosslinking agent and initiator, the weight ratio of both (AA + AM) to KGM and AM to (AA + AM), neutralization degree of AA, bath temperature, and reaction time, on the water absorbency of the superabsorbent were investigated. The Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy was used to characterize the structures of the copolymer. The maximum water absorbency of the optimized product was 650 g/g for distilled water and 70 g/g for a 0.9 wt % aqueous NaCl solution. Furthermore, the water retention of the copolymer in soils was studied. The effect of the copolymers on the aggregate distribution of soils was also evaluated. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2012
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