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Biobased polymeric flocculants for industrial effluent treatment

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Materials Research Innovations


Water is a scare commodity now. Recycling of municipal wastewater, industrial and mineral processing effluents require treatment with the inorganic or organic flocculants. Inorganic flocculants are used in large quantities, leave large amount of sludge and are very much affected by pH changes. Other polymeric flocculants are used in a very minute quantity, form large cohesive floc and are inert to pH changes. Both natural and synthetic polymers are used as flocculants. Natural polymers are biodegradable and are effective at very large dosages but are very shear stable. The synthetic polymers are highly effective flocculants at very small dosages and have high tailorability, but have poor shear stability. In the authors’ laboratory, a new class of flocculants has been developed by grafting polyacrylamide branches onto polysaccharide such as guargum, hydroxypropyl guargum, starch, amylopectin and sodium alginate. These grafted polysaccharides exhibit synergistic flocculation characteristics, shear stability and controlled biodegradability. Out of all the grafted polysaccharides, amylopectin grafted polysaccharides out performs most of the commercially available flocculants. The polacrylamide branches grafted on high molecular weight branched amylopectin have larger approachability to contaminants in the industrial effluents [1, 2].

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Authors acknowledge the support received from CSIR, IIT Kharagpur India, ICAR India and Indo-German DST-BMBF project for the work reported in the above paper. Prof. R. P. Singh also thanks Prof. W. Brostow and UNT, Denton Tx. for offering the visiting professorship during which this paper was prepared.

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Correspondence to Ram P. Singh.

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Singh, R.P., Nayak, B.R., Biswal, D.R. et al. Biobased polymeric flocculants for industrial effluent treatment. Mat Res Innovat 7, 331–340 (2003).

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