Utilization of waste polystyrene and starch for superabsorbent composite preparation

Authors

  • Hanafi Ismail,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Polymer Engineering, School of Materials and Mineral Resources Engineering, USM Engineering Campus, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 14300 Nibong Tebal, Penang, Malaysia
    • School of Materials and Mineral Resources Engineering, USM Engineering Campus, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 14300 Nibong Tebal, Penang, Malaysia
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  • Maryam Irani,

    1. Division of Polymer Engineering, School of Materials and Mineral Resources Engineering, USM Engineering Campus, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 14300 Nibong Tebal, Penang, Malaysia
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  • Zulkifli Ahmad

    1. Division of Polymer Engineering, School of Materials and Mineral Resources Engineering, USM Engineering Campus, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 14300 Nibong Tebal, Penang, Malaysia
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Abstract

A superabsorbent composed of waste polystyrene, starch, and acrylic acid was prepared through emulsion polymerization. The effects of major factors such as starch, acrylic acid, initiator, crosslinker, and bentonite contents and the neutralization degree of acrylic acid on water absorbency were investigated to obtain optimum conditions with high swelling capacity. The superabsorbent hydrogel was characterized by scanning electron microscope (SEM), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The FTIR results confirmed that the grafting polymerization took place among the polystyrene, acrylic acid, starch, and bentonite. The introduction of bentonite particles into the polystyrene-g-poly (acrylic acid)-co-starch system could increase the water absorbency. The superabsorbent composite containing 3 wt % bentonite had the highest water absorbency (500 g/g in distilled water and 49 g/g in 0.9 wt % NaCl solution). © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2013

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