Soil degradation is a significant problem throughout the world. One strategy that can be used to improve soil physical properties is the use of soil conditioners, particularly anionic polyacrylamides. Synthetic water-soluble anionic acrylamide-based polymers have wide applications in agriculture, such as mulch and agrochemicals, and can also be used as soil modifiers for erosion control, nondesertification, and soil stabilization. In this study, anionic polyacrylamides containing cationic metal ions were prepared by free-radical polymerization. Anionic polymer with negative charges was produced by the reaction of mono- and divalent inorganic salts with acrylamide monomer via solution polymerization. Hydrolysis of the polymer was carried out by using calcium chloride and sodium carbonate in their soluble forms, and the negative charges on the polymer were regulated by variation of the molar ratios of inorganic salts with respect to the acrylamide monomer concentration. The molecular weight and charge density of the anionic charged polymers were improved and manipulated by using these methods. The molecular structure of the polymers was characterized and confirmed by common techniques. The effect of the polymers on soil strength was evaluated, and the results showed that the addition of anionic polymer having a high molecular weight improved the behavior of soil components. J. VINYL ADDIT. TECHNOL., 19:140–146, 2013. © 2013 Society of Plastics Engineers
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