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Keywords:

  • composites;
  • gels;
  • hydrophilic polymers

Abstract

Novel polyacrylamide/graphite oxide (PAM/GO) superabsorbent nanocomposites were synthesized by a simple solution polymerization of acrylamide using N,N ′-methylenebisacrylamide as crosslinker and ammonium persulfate as initiator. The well dispersion of GO nanoplatelets in the polymeric network results in a remarkable improvement on the comprehensive swelling performance of the resulting superabsorbent nanocomposites. The water absorption experimental results show that the superabsorbent nanocomposites could absorb water as twice as that of crosslinked polyacrylamide (PAM) superabsorbent with a weight gain of 400 g g−1 with a low loading of GO. The salt tolerance and water-retention ability of the resulting PAM/GO superabsorbent nanocomposites are also enhanced compared with PAM. Moreover, by embedding of ammonium salt into PAM/GO network, the PAM/GO superabsorbent nanocomposites also exhibit a slow release behavior of ammonium salt from network when swelling in water, which makes the PAM/GO superabsorbent nanocomposites multifunctional absorbent materials with great potential for agricultural and horticultural applications. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2013