The Synthesis of Superabsorbent Polymers from a Carboxymethylcellulose/ acrylic Acid Blend Using Gamma Radiation and its Application in Agriculture


Superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) were synthesised from an aqueous solution of a carboxymethylcellulose (CMC)/acrylic acid (AAc) blend followed by neutralisation with alkali using Co-60 γ-irradiation source at room temperature (~27ºC). The preparation conditions, such as the irradiation dose and the variation of the CMC to AAc ratio (10:1.5, 1.0:2.0 and 1.0:3.0) in the feed solution, were investigated. Fourier Transform Infra-Red (FTIR) spectroscopy was used to investigate the molecular interactions of CMC/AAc SAP. The influence of the radiation dose and the concentration of AAc on the gel content and the swelling behaviour was also investigated. The gel fraction of SAP increases with an increase in the radiation dose and the concentration of each component and attains maximum value at a 5 kGy radiation dose. The water absorption capacity of SAP decreases with an increased radiation dose and AAc content. SAP enhances the water retention of sand and soil. SAP also influences germination of wheat and lady’s finger seeds and the growth of young plants. The biodegradation of SAPs was also investigated.


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