O'Shea, J-P; Qiao, GG; Franks, GV
(AMER CHEMICAL SOC, 2012-01-10)
Temperature responsive charged block-copolymers of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) have been used in the solid-liquid separation of alumina mineral particles from aqueous solution. The effects of temperature, polymer charge-sign and fraction of charged segment have been investigated. Batch settling and adsorption studies showed that rapid sedimentation results for suspensions with polymers of opposite charge-sign to the particle surface-charge (counterionic) at 50 °C. Cooling the suspensions after flocculation at 50 °C was found to increase the final solids volume fraction of the sediment beds formed through a mechanism related to partial desorption of polymer and the reduction of the hydrophobic attraction. Suspension stability results after dosing with polymers of similar charge-sign to the particle surface-charge (co-ionic) at both 25 and 50 °C. Increasing the amount of polymer charge increased the influence of polymer charge-sign on the adsorption and solid-liquid separation behavior. The performance of the charged block copolymers are compared to that of the random charged copolymer and neutral homopolymer PNIPAM structures.