Cellulose produced from cotton fibers was used as substrate for synthesis of oil-absorbing materials by single electron transfer-living radical polymerization. The cellulose macroinitiator was prepared by esterification of hydroxyl group with 2-bromoisobutyryl bromide (BiBB), followed by grafting with butyl methacrylate (BMA) and pentaerythritol triacrylate (PETA) to render a three-dimensional architecture. The polymerization was catalyzed by Cu(0) powder/hexamethylenetetramine (HMTA) and performed in N,N-dimethylformamide (DMF). Effects of cellulose, catalyst, reaction temperature, and time were investigated in detail. The maximum oil absorption to chloroform and toluene could reach 29.0 and 15.4 g·g−1, respectively. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part A: Polym Chem, 2013
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