Assembly of Polyacrylamide-Sodium Alginate-Based Organic-Inorganic Hydrogel with Mechanical and Adsorption Properties

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Hydrogels have been widely used in water purification. However, there is not much discussion and comparison about the effects of different nanofillers on the reinforcement and adsorption performances of hydrogels, which can be subjected to rapid water flow and possess strong adsorption ability. In this work, polyacrylamide (PAAM)-sodium alginate (SA) interpenetrating polymer network-structured hydrogels were prepared by in situ polymerization. PAAM formed the first flexible network and SA constructed the second rigid network. Three kinds of inorganic nanoparticles including carbon nanotubes (CNTs), nanoclays (NCs), and nanosilicas (NSs) were incorporated into a PAAM-SA matrix via hydrogen bond. The obtained hydrogels exhibited a macroporous structure with low density (≈1.4 g/cm) and high water content (≈83%). Compared with neat PAAM-SA, the hydrogels with inorganic nanoparticles possessed excellent mechanical strengths and elasticities, and the compression strength of PAAM-SA-NS reached up to 1.3 MPa at ε = 60% by adding only 0.036 g NS in a 30 g polymer matrix. However, CNT was the best filler to improve the adsorption capacity owing to its multi-walled hollow nanostructure, and the adsorption capacity of PAAM-SA-CNT was 1.28 times higher than that of PAAM-SA. The prepared hydrogels can be potential candidates for use as absorbents to treat wastewater.

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