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Cationic flocculants carrying hydrophobic functionalities: Applications for solid/liquid separation

: Schwarz, S.; Jaeger, W.; Paulke, B.-R.; Bratskaya, S.; Smolka, N.; Bohrisch, J.


Journal of physical chemistry. B 111 (2007), Nr.29, S.8649-8654
ISSN: 1089-5647
ISSN: 1520-6106
ISSN: 1520-5207
Fraunhofer IAP ()

The flocculation behaviors of three series of polycations with narrow molecular weight distributions carrying hydrophobic substituents on their backbones [poly(N-vinylbenzyl-N,N,N-trimethylammonium chloride), poly(N-vinylbenzyl-N,N-dimethyl-N-butylammonium chloride), and poly(N-vinylbenzylpyridinium chloride)] were investigated in dispersions of monodisperse polystyrene latexes and kaolin. Apparently, the charge density of the polycations decreases with increasing substituent hydrophobicity and increasing molecular weight of the polyelectrolytes. The necessary amount of flocculant for phase separation in dispersions with high substrate surface charge densities increases with increasing hydrophobicity of the polyelectrolyte. Nevertheless, the introduction of hydrophobic functionalities is beneficial, resulting in a substantial broadening of the range between the minimum and maximum amounts of flocculant necessary for efficient flocculation (flocculation window). An increase in ionic strength supports this effect. When the substrate has a low charge density, the hydrophobic interactions play a much more significant role in the flocculation process. Here, the minimum efficient doses remained the same for all three polyelectrolytes investigated, but the width of the flocculation window increased as the polycation hydrophobicity and the molecular weight increased. The necessary amount of flocculant increased with an increase in particle size at constant solid content of the dispersion, as well as with a decreasing number of particles at a constant particle size.