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Synthesis of surface ion-imprinted polymer for specific detection of thorium under acidic conditions

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Abstract

A fibrous surface ion-imprinted polymer (IIP) was synthesized for thorium removal through direct electron beam radiation using thorium as a template. Polypropylene coated by polyethylene non-woven fabrics (PE/PP) was used as a substrate. The PE/PP non-woven fabrics were irradiated in the presence of the phosphoric monomer (2-HMPA) composed of 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylic phosphoric acid diester (50%) and monoester (50%) emulsified with the crosslinker. Hence, the formation of the three-dimensional IIP-Th crosslinked network and complexation between thorium (template) and 2-HMPA was investigated. The emulsion stability and particle size distribution of emulsion were determined using dynamic light scattering (DLS). Various factors influencing the synthesis of the thorium ion-imprinted (Th-IIP) non-woven PE/PP such as the absorbed radiation dose, monomer concentration, and type of crosslinker were investigated. The IIP-Th was characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), scanning electron microscopy–energy-dispersive X-ray (SEM–EDX), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and applied as an adsorbent for the removal of thorium using the batch adsorption method. The IIP-Th achieved a maximum distribution coefficient of 3.293 g/L and selectivity ratio (Th(IV)/U(VI)) of 9.5 after 90 min of contact time under acidic conditions. The adsorption kinetics of IIP-Th followed the pseudo-second-order kinetic model for both Th(IV) adsorption and U(VI) adsorption. The synthesized fibrous surface ion-imprinted polymer is a promising candidate for the selective removal of thorium ions from aqueous solution.

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Acknowledgements

Financial support was provided by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Climate Change (MESTECC), Malaysia (FP0214D052(DSTIN)), and Japan Society for Promoting Science (JSPS), Japan, under the RONPAKU program (R11703).

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Correspondence to N. A. F. Othman.

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Othman, N.A.F., Selambakkannu, S., Azian, H. et al. Synthesis of surface ion-imprinted polymer for specific detection of thorium under acidic conditions. Polym. Bull. (2020) doi:10.1007/s00289-019-03094-2

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