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Polysaccharide Materials and Sorption Studies of Chloroform and Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) in Aqueous Solution




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In this research, a series of synthetically engineered copolymers were synthesized containing polysaccharides (e.g., β-cyclodextrin and chitosan) to address the removal of trihalomethanes (THMs) from water environments. There are two main parts in this research thesis: i) the preparation and characterization of polysaccharide-based copolymers; ii) sorption studies of the copolymers with chloroform and total THMs (TTHMs) in aqueous solution. In the first part of this thesis, grafted polyester, polyester and grafted polyamide copolymers were prepared by cross-linking β-cyclodextrin (β-CD) and chitosan (CS) with various cross-linkers, including poly (acrylic acid) (PAA), terephthaloyl (TCl), and sebacoyl chloride (SCl), respectively. The synthesized copolymer materials were characterized by Diffuse Reflectance Infrared Fourier Transform Spectroscopy (DRIFTS), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), elemental (C and H) analyses, and NMR spectroscopy. Nitrogen porosimetry was used to analyze the surface area and pore structure characteristics of the copolymers and starting materials in solid state. The sorption properties of the copolymers in aqueous solution were studied using different dye probes (e.g., p-nitrophenol and methylene blue) by UV–Vis spectrophotometry. The copolymers showed markedly varied interactions with dye probes in accordance with their composition, surface area, and pore structure characteristics. Diverse materials were afforded by variation of the synthetic conditions. The sorption isotherms were evaluated with various isotherm models (e.g., Langmuir, BET, Freundlich and Sips). The Sips isotherm showed the best overall agreement with the experimental results and the sorption parameters provided estimates of the sorbent surface area and the sorption capacity for various copolymers in aqueous solution. The copolymer sorbents display tunable physicochemical properties according to the synthetic conditions. In the second part of this thesis, the direct aqueous injection (DAI) method with gas chromatography (GC) with electron capture or electrolytic conductivity detectors (ECD) enabled quantitative detection of chloroform and TTHMs in water. A preliminary adsorption study and kinetic study of chloroform provided the information to establish the experimental protocol for the sorption study. The sorption parameters were evaluated using the Sips model. The sorption capacity (Qm) values of chloroform for these synthetically engineered copolymers at similar conditions ranged from 0.00335-1.70 mmol/g. The relative ordering of the Qm values was observed: β-CD/PAA 1:5 > SCl-5 > SCl-10 ~ CP-1 > β-CD/PAA 1:10 > CP-5 > AC > β-CD/PAA 1:5 at high mixing speed. An extension of the sorption study for copolymers toward the multi-component THMs in water was carried out. The copolymers showed distinct adsorption capacities to THMs: chloroform (0.0485-0.287 mmol/g); DBCM (0.0712-0.277 mmol/g); BDCM (0.0684-0.387mmol/g); and bromoform (0.0522-1.07 mmol/g). The copolymers exhibited relatively high selectivity toward individual components of THMs due to their variable molecular size and polarizability. The copolymers showed favorable adsorption (e.g., β-CD/PAA 1:5, CP-1) and each type of polysaccharide (e.g., β-CD and CS) copolymers displays great potential for the removal of halomethane-based contaminants.



THMs, Sorption studies, β-CD, Chitosan, Copolymers, GC-ECD, DAI.



Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)







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