A facile approach to fabricate porous nanocomposite gels based on partially hydrolyzed polyacrylamide and cellulose nanocrystals for adsorbing methylene blue at low concentrations

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Porous nanocomposite gels were fabricated by a facile method consisting of the electrospinning and subsequent heat treatment based on partially hydrolyzed polyacrylamide (HPAM) of ultra-high molecular weight, with cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) as crosslinker. The effects of three electrospinning parameters (i.e., solution concentration, composition of solvent mixture, and CNC loading level) on morphology and diameter of electrospun fibers were systematically investigated. The swelling properties of porous gels and their application in the removal of methylene blue dye (as a compound representative of contaminants) were evaluated. Electrospun fiber morphologies without beads, branches, and ribbons were achieved by optimizing the electrospinning solutions. The thermal crosslinking between HPAM and CNCs was realized through esterification, rendering the product nanocomposite membranes insoluble in water. Electrospun fibers of approximately 220 nm in diameter comprised the 3D porous nanocomposite gels, with porosity greater than 50%. The porous nanocomposite gels displayed a rapid swelling rate and an efficient adsorption capacity in removing methylene blue at low concentrations from aqueous solutions.

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Journal of hazardous materials

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