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Published August 21, 2012 | Published + Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

Branched Polymeric Media: Boron-Chelating Resins from Hyperbranched Polyethylenimine


Extraction of boron from aqueous solutions using selective resins is important in a variety of applications including desalination, ultrapure water production, and nuclear power generation. Today's commercial boron-selective resins are exclusively prepared by functionalization of styrene-divinylbenzene (STY-DVB) beads with N-methylglucamine to produce resins with boron-chelating groups. However, such boron-selective resins have a limited binding capacity with a maximum free base content of 0.7 eq/L, which corresponds to a sorption capacity of 1.16 ± 0.03 mMol/g in aqueous solutions with equilibrium boron concentration of ~70 mM. In this article, we describe the synthesis and characterization of a new resin that can selectively extract boron from aqueous solutions. We show that branched polyethylenimine (PEI) beads obtained from an inverse suspension process can be reacted with glucono-1,5-d-lactone to afford a resin consisting of spherical beads with high density of boron-chelating groups. This resin has a sorption capacity of 1.93 ± 0.04 mMol/g in aqueous solution with equilibrium boron concentration of ~70 mM, which is 66% percent larger than that of standard commercial STY-DVB resins. Our new boron-selective resin also shows excellent regeneration efficiency using a standard acid wash with a 1.0 M HCl solution followed by neutralization with a 0.1 M NaOH solution.

Additional Information

© 2012 American Chemical Society. Received: April 17, 2012. Revised: July 3, 2012. Accepted: July 24, 2012. Published: July 24, 2012. This research was carried out at the California Institute of Technology and AquaNano, LLC. Selected materials characterization studies (FT-IR and SEM) were carried out at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). Funding for this research was provided by the U.S National Science Foundation (NSF) (CBET Award 0506951). M.S.D. and D.P.C. were supported by the KAIST EEWS Initiative (NT080607C0209721). W.A.G. III was supported partially by the KAIST World Class University (WCU) program (NRF-31-2008-000-10055).

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Published - es301518x.pdf

Supplemental Material - es301518x_si_001.pdf


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