Pure Appl. Chem., 2009, Vol. 81, No. 12, pp. 2417-2424
Published online 2009-11-29
Study of the sulfonation of expanded polystyrene waste and of properties of the products obtained
Abstract: Waste-expanded polystyrene (EPS) and virgin polystyrene (VPS) were converted into ion exchangers by chemical modification. For this purpose, we used silica sulfuric acid as the sulfonating agent and conducted sulfonation under heterogeneous conditions. For VPS, the influence of the quantity of the sulfonating agent, the temperature, and the reaction time on the product properties were studied. As it appeared, silica sulfuric acid simplifies the reaction in comparison with the conventional sulfonation methods. Fourier transform-infrared (FT-IR) spectra and elemental analysis revealed that products were cross-linked and the content of sulfonate groups in a polymer chain varied. Some of the yielded polymers exhibited good water absorption and cation-exchange properties. The ion-exchange capacity (IEC) for chosen products was also determined, and it turned out to be similar to the commercial resin. The batch method was used to study the purification of solutions of Zn2+ and Cu2+ by the obtained resins. The performed study proved the usefulness of waste PS derivatives for the water treatment process.